Wheeler County’s Per Capita Income Fell Slightly in 2017

by Dallas Fridley

March 14, 2019

In 2017, Wheeler County ranked as Oregon’s smallest based on population, placing 36th. Wheeler County’s per capita income ranked third from the bottom (34th), at $34,414, falling about $13,700 below Oregon’s $48,137. Wheeler County’s 2017 per capita income ranked ahead of Jefferson and Malheur counties despite falling by 0.9 percent over the year. Washington County’s per capita income led the state in 2017, at $57,331. On a nominal basis, Wheeler County’s total personal income reached $46.7 million, with 1,357 residents (+2.3%), while Oregon’s totaled $199.4 billion and its population rose to 4,142,776.
Net earnings accounted for just 36 percent of Wheeler County’s 2017 personal income, at $16.6 million. Wheeler County ranked 36th (last) on a per capita basis, at $12,214, more than $17,000 below Oregon’s $29,245. Only five counties, including Washington, Clackamas, Multnomah, Hood River, and Deschutes, held an advantage in net earnings.

Dividends, interest, and rent accounted for 27 percent of Wheeler County’s personal income, at $12.5 million. Wheeler County ranked in the middle of the pack, in 17th position on a per capita basis, at $9,178, just $600 shy of Oregon’s $9,793. Ten Oregon counties held a per capita advantage over the state, with more than two-thirds lagging. Deschutes County led the state, with $12,221 per capita coming from dividends, interest, and rent.
Transfer receipts led Wheeler County, representing about 38 percent of its personal income total at $17.7 million. On a per capita basis, Wheeler County ranked fourth out of 36 counties in 2017 at $13,022, about $3,900 above Oregon’s $9,100. All but eight of Oregon’s counties held a per capita advantage over the state, with transfer receipts in six metro counties (Clackamas, Multnomah, Washington, Benton, Yamhill, and Polk) and two rural (Hood River and Morrow) lagging.

Wheeler County’s population rose by 31 residents or 2.3 percent in 2017 to total 1,357, but its per capita personal income fell by $315 or 0.9 percent. Wheeler County’s per capita income grew faster than Oregon’s from 2007 to 2017, producing a gain of 39.3 percent (+$9,709) – although its population actually fell by 4.4 percent compared with Oregon’s 11.3 percent gain. Wheeler County’s per capita income ranking remained relatively stable from 2012 to 2017, falling from 35th in 2012 and holding steady at 34th in each of the past five years.

On a nominal basis, Wheeler County’s personal income total rose by $0.7 million in 2017 (+3.3%). Wheeler County’s net earnings lost ground, falling by $0.6 million (-3.2%); dividends, interest, and rent rose by $0.5 million (+4.6%); and transfer payments increased by $0.7 million (+3.8%). Since 2007, Wheeler County’s total personal income grew by $11.6 million or about 33 percent, significantly below Oregon’s 49 percent, $65.6 billion increase.


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