Northern Virginia Dominates List of Highest-Income Counties, Census Bureau Reports

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on December 15, 2013

“The U.S. Census Bureau reports that five of the counties or county-equivalents nationwide with the highest median household income in 2012 were located in Northern Virginia. Among them were Arlington County, at $99,255, Fairfax County, at $106,690, Falls Church (an independent city), at $121,250, Loudoun County, at $118,934, and Stafford County, at $95,927. Falls Church and Loudoun also had among the lowest poverty rates in the country. The data are from the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates program, which provides the only current, single-year income and poverty statistics for all sizes of counties and school districts — roughly 3,140 counties and nearly 14,000 school districts nationally.

“Metropolitan counties along the East Coast continued to have the highest median household income and lowest poverty in the country,” said Lucinda Dalzell, chief of the Census Bureau’s Small Areas Estimates Branch. “These counties are located in large metro areas, such as Boston and New York, and are heavily concentrated in the Northern Virginia portion of the Washington area; Northern Virginia alone accounted for about one-fifth of the nation’s 50 highest-income counties.”

The findings also show that median household income is higher in nearly half of the counties in the Dakotas now than it was before the recession began in 2007. Between 2007 and 2012, 55 of the 119 counties in North and South Dakota experienced a statistically significant increase in median household income. In contrast, of the remaining 3,023 counties or equivalents nationwide, the same was true of only 56 of them. Of all the U.S. counties with a statistically significant change in income relative to 2007, 89 percent experienced a decline. Among the counties with school-age child poverty rates significantly higher than the national average of 21.1 percent in 2012, 75 percent were in the South. In 2012, there were 13,544 school districts. Of these, 14.7 percent had poverty rates greater than 30 percent, for the population of school-age children in families. The Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates program provides the number of people in poverty, the number of children younger than 5 in poverty (for states only), the number of children 5 to 17 in families in poverty, the number of children younger than 18 in poverty and median household income. School district estimates are available for the total population, the number of children 5 to 17 and the number of children 5 to 17 in families in poverty.”

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