(NEXSTAR) — Despite the rising inflation the U.S. has faced in recent years, the average annual income has grown by just 3%, Census Bureau data shows.
But according to a new analysis by SmartAsset, the median household income grew nearly 10 times as much in some cities.
The personal finance website reviewed Census Bureau data from the nation’s 124 largest cities to determine income changes between 2019 and 2021. Nearly one-third of the cities reported double-digit rates of income growth while the majority saw single-digit rates of growth, the lowest being 0.27%.
Only two cities, located on opposite sides of the country, saw the median income grow by more than 30%: San Bernardino, California (31.35%) and Huntsville, Alabama (30.21%). While San Bernardino had a higher percentage growth, the median income in Huntsville is much higher: as of 2021, Huntsville’s median income is $70,757, nearly $5,000 higher than San Bernardino’s $65,311.
California made up the majority of the 10 cities that saw the largest income growth between 2019 and 2021:
|City||Income Growth (2021 median income)|
|San Bernardino, California||31.35% ($65,311)|
|Huntsville, Alabama||30.21% ($70,757)|
|Moreno Valley, California||21.99% ($79,840)|
|Winston-Salem, North Carolina||21.65% ($54,228)|
|Toledo, Ohio||20.27% ($44,150)|
|Fayetteville, North Carolina||17.90% ($51,629)|
|Indianapolis, Indiana||17.76% ($58,479)|
|Stockton, California||17.38% ($69,844)|
|Fontana, California||16.15% ($93,851)|
|Fresno, California||15.22% ($61,250)|
Despite the promising signs of growth, the median household income did decrease in 15 cities, SmartAsset found. In about half of those cities, the median income fell by more than 7%.
The hardest hit was Baton Rouge, Louisiana, SmartAsset found. There, the average income fell from about $45,800 to about $41,200, a nearly 10% decrease.
The 15 cities that saw a decrease in their average household income were scattered across the U.S., but are mostly in the South:
|Buffalo, New York (−0.43%)||District of Columbia (−2.36%)||Irvine, California (−5.20%)|
|Enterprise CDP, Nevada (−1.04%)||Little Rock, Arkansas (−2.39%)||Cincinnati, Ohio (−7.62%)|
|Garland, Texas (−1.52%)||Cape Coral, Florida (−2.72%)||Orlando, Florida (−7.91%)|
|San Francisco, California (−1.64%)||Arlington, Texas (−2.96%)||Laredo, Texas (−8.75%)|
|New York, New York (−2.03%)||Henderson, Nevada (−4.39%)||Baton Rouge, Louisiana (−9.96%)|
Though it had a low rate of income growth in comparison to other cities on the list, Fremont, California had the highest median income in 2021 at $155,968, according to Census data. It saw an 8.22% increase between 2019 and 2021. The second-highest median household income was found in Frisco, Texas, which saw an 11.32% increase between 2019 and 2021, jumping from $116,884 to $130,118.
On the opposite end was Cleveland, Ohio, where the average household income in 2021 was $35,562 — up almost 11% from $32,053 two years earlier. Detroit, Michigan wasn’t far behind, reporting a 6.4% increase in its median income in 2021 when it reached $36,140, up from $33,965.
Here is the full list of cities analyzed by SmartAsset:
The average U.S. family earns about $71,000 a year, Census data shows. Many don’t believe that is enough to get by, reporting in a Gallup poll that they need at least $85,000 in annual household income instead. That’s up drastically from the $58,000 a year the average American believed they needed 10 years ago.