Erie Vital Signs

Income: Median Household Income

Recent Performance

Real median income rose last year after declining through most of the recession and recovery.

As of 2014, Erie’s median household income stood at $45,660, which was 11.5 percent less than the average among the thirteen Erie Vital Signs peer areas. This meant than Erie was lower than nine of the 13 peers, which had a median household income, on average, of $51,454.

Moreover, between 2005 and 2014, the growth in median household income has been at a slower rate in Erie (13.0%) compared to the U.S. (16.0%), Pennsylvania (19.5%), and the average for the thirteen peer areas (16.2%). However, in "real" (i.e., inflation-adjusted) terms, median income actually fell by 6.8% in Erie, by 4.3% in the U.S, 1.4% in PA, and 4.1% for the 13 peers in that 2005-14 period.

The good news is that real median income rose in Erie from 2013 to 2014, by 1.2%, better than the U.S.'s 1.1% and PA's 0.7%, but less than half of the average real growth (2.5%) for the 13 peer areas.


Map of Median Income (Dollars): Households by Census Tract 2007-2011


Source: 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimate: Data Table | Map

The Basics

Household income includes the income of all individuals 15 years old and over in the household.
The median divides the income distribution into two equal parts: one-half of the cases falling below the median income and one-half above the median.

Why is this important?

The level of income is one of the most important indicators of the economic health and performance of a region. Median household income is an approximate measure of the purchasing power of the average household in the “middle” of the income distribution. A rising median household income therefore reflects an increase in the standard of living for households in the region.

The Details

“Income of Households” includes the income of the householder and all other individuals 15 years old and over in the household, whether they are related to the householder or not. Because many households consist of only one person, average household income is usually less than average family income. Although the household income statistics cover the past 12 months, the characteristics of individuals and the composition of households refer to the time of interview when the data are collected. Thus, the income of the household does not include amounts received by individuals who were members of the household during all or part of the past 12 months if these individuals no longer resided in the household at the time of interview. Similarly, income amounts reported by individuals who did not reside in the household during the past 12 months but who were members of the household at the time of interview are included. However, the composition of most households is the same during the past 12 months as at the time of interview.

The median divides the income distribution into two equal parts: one-half of the cases falling below the median income and one-half above the median. For households and families, the median income is based on the distribution of the total number of households and families including those with no income. The median income for individuals is based on individuals 15 years old and over with income. Median income for households, families, and individuals is computed on the basis of a standard distribution.

The Nitty-Gritty Details

U.S. Census Bureau, The American Community Survey

Subcategories

This EVS indicator has no subcategories.

Peer Areas

These variables include data on all 13 of the standard peer areas, along with U.S. and PA data.

Frequency

Annual

Source

Other Related Data

Latest Erie Data from the Economic Research Institute of Erie, at the Black School of Business at Penn State Behrend

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