Tags: dc | incomes | soar | census

DC Incomes Soar as Other Americans Lose Out

Friday, 20 Sep 2013 12:30 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Americans are becoming poorer, except in Washington, D.C., where the typical household income rose by more than 20 percent over the past decade, a new Census Bureau report reveals.

In the nation's capital, the average income reached $66,583 in 2012, according to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, released Thursday.

Those living in the suburbs in Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle are enjoying even higher salaries, earning a median household income of $88,233. This ranks the highest among the United States' most-populated metro areas, reports The Wall Street Journal.

By comparison, the Tampa, Fla., area has about half the median income, at $45,000, according to the Census report. Tampa has the lowest median household income among the 25 largest metro areas in the country.

While the typical D.C. household's income rose by 23.3 percent, other Americans' income dropped by 6.6 percent overall, with a national average of $55,030 down to $51,371.

In Mississippi, household incomes dropped 15 percent between 2000 and last year, dropping to $37,095, with nearly one in three people earning incomes that put them at or near the poverty line, defined as $23,283 for a family of four.

While D.C. marked the largest gains, four states' incomes increased during the same time. Oil and gas drilling in North Dakota sparked a 17 percent income jump, and smaller increases were noted in Wyoming, Louisiana, and South Dakota.

States such as Indiana, Georgia, Michigan, and Tennessee saw double-digit percentage drops.

The Census Bureau found there's a large gap between the haves and have-nots in Washington, D.C., even while the overall average wages have climbed. People experiencing "deep poverty," with incomes that are 50 percent below the poverty line, rose during the decade from 9.4 percent in 2000 to 10.4 percent in 2012. This was the highest rate in the country, even though 45 states also saw their poverty rates rise.

The difference between the wealthy and the poor isn't quite as high as that of New York City, however, which marked a higher rate of income inequality than any other city in the country, the New York Daily News reports.

Before the recession started in 2007, 18.5 percent of New Yorkers were living below the poverty level, and by 2012, 21 percent were below the poverty line.

Related stories:

Poverty Rate Remains High Under Obama, 48 Million Uninsured

Census: Whites a Minority in US by 2043

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