Southern and Eastern U.S. States Falling Behind the West
The United States’ southern and eastern regions are falling behind the west. By and large, Americans living in the eastern and southern states have been witnessing slower income growth—or in some cases, shrinking incomes—than those living in the western and midwestern states.
According to a recent study by GoBankingRates, most of the 20 metro cities with the slowest income growth (or biggest income declines) were in the southern and eastern states. GoBankingRates studied the income growth data for 200 of America’s largest metro areas from 2010 to 2015.
The city with the worst rate of declining income was Bridgeport, Connecticut, where incomes shrank by 5.23% between 2010 and 2015. The city is also marred with one of the worst cases of income inequality, in which the top one percent of the population claimed more than 85% of the income growth during the study period.
To make matters worse, the Connecticut government has been dealing with a fiscal crisis. It’s the only U.S. state functioning without an official budget this year. Most of the small cities and towns in the state are facing the threat of a government shutdown, while its capital city, Hartford, is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. So, a Connecticut city landing the last-place spot in the income growth list isn’t surprising.
After Bridgeport, the next three worst metro areas—in terms of declining incomes—were Gulfport, Mississippi; Clarksville, Tennessee; and Kennewick, Washington.
Florida is the state with the most metro areas in the list of 20 cities with the slowest income growth. Four of Florida’s largest metro areas have seen meager income growth in the study’s five-year period: Tampa, Lakeland, Palm Bay, and Tallahassee.
According to the study, the Tampa metro area, in particular—and the state of Florida, in general—are facing the risk of recession. Consumer confidence in Florida’s metro areas is continuing to be low, the technology sector is lagging, and fewer small businesses are drawing loans for investments.
For people living in these regions of the United States, it has been a challenge to maintain a good standard of living as they experience a continual rise in the cost of living while their wage growth falls behind.
“Cities Where Incomes Are Shrinking — And Growing — The Fastest,” GoBankingRates, October 10, 2017.