News

The DC Area Has the Highest Median Income in the US Again

But growth is slow.
Photograph via iStock.

The Washington, DC, metro area had the highest median income in the United States, according to the US Census Bureau, which released its latest median household income data last week. That’s the good news. But there’s a potentially worrying dimension to these data: the growth rate for median income in this region is slow.

The DC metro area, which the Census Bureau defines as DC, Arlington, and Alexandria, is making less progress than just the District of Columbia. During the past 10 years, the DC metro area has grown basically at the same pace as the rest of the United States. When the growth rate of median household income in the US declined between 2008 and 2009, it went down in the DC area as well, a decline that lasted until 2010.

DC metro area and US median household income from 2006 to 2015

dc-metro-area-number-3
Source: US Census Bureau. Graphic by Manyun Zou.

The District of Columbia’s median household income, however, increased during 2008 and 2009, and kept growing after that. Because of its strong growth, you can see a bigger gap appear between the numbers for the District and the rest of the United States.

District of Columbia and US median household income from 2006 to 2015

dc-city-area-3
Source: US Census Bureau. Graphic by Manyun Zou.

Second, when comparing to other metro areas, the DC metro area has led the same list for three years. Its median household income exceeds the San Francisco metro area’s by around $5,000 per year.

10 US metro areas with the highest median household income

 

metro-area-ranking-2
Source: US Census Bureau. Graphic by Manyun Zou.

However, again, when taking a look at the growth rate, the DC metro area’s performance is slow. Among the 10 highest median household income metro areas, the DC metro area’s growth rate is second to the last. The San Francisco metro area, the Seattle metro area, the Minneapolis- St. Paul metro area, and the Philadelphia metro area are leading the race, especially the Seattle metro area, which jumps up one spot to fourth place from last year.

10 highest median household income metro areas’ growth rates

metro-area-growth-ranking
Source: US Census Bureau. Graphic by Manyun Zou.

The metro areas mentioned above are: Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Minneapolis-St.Paul-Bloomington, Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, New York-Newark-Jersey City, San Diego-Carlsbad, and Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington.

More from News