Per Capita Personal Income in Metropolitan and Micropolitan Areas

How does Wichita compare in Personal Income? We can learn in this interactive visualization of Per Capita Personal Income in urban areas in the United States.

This interactive visualization presents Per Capita Personal Income for Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Micropolitan Statistical Areas. The source of the original data is Bureau of Economic Analysis, an agency of the United States Department of Commerce. I’ve gathered this data, performed some calculations, and present it in an interactive visualization. Data ranges from 1969 to 2020.

Of note, this data series is not adjusted for inflation. This is an important consideration, as to convert 1969 dollars to 2020 dollars, one must multiply the 1969 dollars by 7.052. BEA publishes other series of data adjusted for regional price parity and the national personal consumption expenditures price index; BEA will release these on December 14, 2021.

One of the calculations I performed is determining the difference between the value for a metro area and the nation. (1)Strictly, the value I use for the nation is just for the metropolitan statistical and micropolitan statistical areas. This lets us place values in context: If per capita personal income for the Wichita MSA in 1985 was $15,142, what does that mean? The value for the nation that year was $15,056, so Wichita was a little above the nation. In 1995, Wichita was at $22,071 while the nation was at $22,986, meaning Wichita slipped from above the nation to below.

I also calculate the cumulative difference between an area and the nation.

In the nearby example from the visualization, I show Wichita and some nearby metro areas starting in 2000. For most years in this period, Wichita Per Capita Personal Income was below the national average. Most notably, the trend for the past five years has been down, and sharply.

The cumulative chart emphasizes the long-term effects. For Wichita, the value for 2020 is $41,471, meaning that in 20 years, Wichita fell behind the nation by that amount in per capita personal income. Alternatively, if Wichita had matched the nation, each person would have accumulated that much additional personal income.

The news release from BEA for this data is Personal Income by County and Metropolitan Area, 2020.

To learn more about this data and to access the interactive visualization and create your own charts here: Visualization: Per Capita Personal Income in Metropolitan and Micropolitan Areas.

Click for larger.


1Strictly, the value I use for the nation is just for the metropolitan statistical and micropolitan statistical areas.

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