New Personal Income Data for Linn and Benton Counties

by Pat O'Connor

December 17, 2018

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) recently released new estimates of per capita personal income (PCPI) by county. Personal income data is not among the most current economic indicators – the “new” county estimates are for 2017. Despite the time lag in producing personal income data, they are still valuable for evaluating a county’s economic health.

Personal income data includes wage and salary income, but it also includes other sources of income. One other source of income is transfer payments from the government. Transfer payments include social security income, food stamps, Medicare and Medicaid, welfare income, and student grants and loans received from the government. Personal income also includes interest, dividends, and capital gains that people receive. Farm income is another component captured in personal income data.

Benton County’s ($45,273) per capita income level in 2017 exceeded Linn County’s, but lags behind Oregon and the U.S. Linn County’s ($40,380) per capita income level was significantly less than both the state and the nation.
Both counties and Oregon all had a gain in PCPI from 2016 to 2017. Benton County’s PCPI grew 2.7 percent, slower than Oregon and the U.S. Linn County’s PCPI expanded 3.2 percent, nearly matching Oregon’s growth of 3.4 percent and the U.S. growth of 3.3 percent.
The long-term trend in PCPI is captured by looking at the annual average percent change from 2001 to 2017. Over that period, Benton County’s 3.7 percent per capita personal income growth slightly outpaced Linn County and was similar to Oregon and the nation. Linn County’s per capita personal income growth of 3.4 percent was slightly slower than Oregon (3.7%) and the U.S. (3.6%).

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