United States Comparative Trends Analysis:
Per Capita Personal Income Growth and Change, 1958-2015
Introduction
U.S.:
2015 PCI = $48,112
Per Capita Income (PCI) is one of the most widely used indicators for gauging the economic performance and changing fortunes of local economies. It is used as a yardstick to assess the economic well being of a region's residents and the quality of consumer markets. It serves as a barometer for calibrating the economic performance of a region over time and to judge differences in relative economic prosperity between regions. Shifting trends in local per capita income growth have important social and political ramifications and significant implications in formulating local economic development strategies and initiatives.
BEA Data Definition:
Personal income is the income that is received by persons from all sources. It is calculated as the sum of wage and salary disbursements, supplements to wages and salaries, proprietors' income with inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments, rental income of persons with capital consumption adjustment, personal dividend income, personal interest income, and personal current tranfer receipts, less contributions for government social insurance. This measure of income is calculated as the personal income of the residents of a given area divided by the resident population of the area. In computing per capita personal income, BEA uses the Census Bureau's annual midyear population estimates.
Personal income is measured as a flow throughout the year, while the measurement of population is at one point in mid-year. Therefore, per capita income is distorted if a significant change in population occurs during the year.
For smaller states in particular, per capita income in any given year may be exceptionally high or low for the short run because of unusual local conditions, such as a bumper crop, a catastrophe, or a major construction project as the building of a dam or nuclear power plant.
Farm incomes are notorious for being especially volatile year-to-year, owing to changing weather, commodity market conditions, and alterations in government programs. Therefore, the per capita income of farm-dependent states may exhibit sharp fluctuations over time.
The presence of large institutional populations--such as residents attending a local college or the residents of a local prison or state mental institution--can significantly lower the per capita income estimates of an area. Such results may not reflect the relative economic well being of the non-institutional population and may mislead if care is not given to their interpretation.
United States Per Capita Personal Income, 1958-2015
Current vs. Constant Dollars
United States Per Capita Personal Income, 1958-2015
Current vs. Constant Dollars
Figure 1.
Figure 1 depicts the United States' annual per capita personal income over 1958-2015 in current and constant (2009) dollars. Constant dollar measurements remove the effects of inflation. They allow for comparison of changes in the real purchasing power of the United States over time.
When measured in current dollars, the United States' per capita personal income increased 2,124.3%, from $2,163 in 1958 to $48,112 in 2015. When measured in constant 2009 dollars to adjust for inflation, it advanced 245.1%, from $12,726 in 1958 to $43,925 in 2015.
Real Per Capita Personal Income Indices (1958=100): 1958-2015
Real Per Capita Personal Income Indices (1958=100): 1958-2015
Figure 2.
Figure 2 portrays the United States' real per capita personal income growth in a broader context by offering direct comparisons across time with . The growth indices shown here express each region's real per capita personal income in 1958 as a base figure of 100, and the real per capita personal incomes in later years as a percentage of the 1958 base figure.
The United States' overall real per capita personal income growth was 245.1% over 1958-2015 .
United States Real Per Capita Personal Income:
Annual Percent Change, 1959-2015
United States Real Per Capita Personal Income:
Annual Percent Change, 1959-2015
Figure 3.
Figure 3 shows the short-run pattern of the United States' real per capita personal income growth by tracking the year-to-year percent change over 1959-2015. The average annual percent change for the entire 57-year period is also illustrated on this chart to provide a benchmark for gauging periods of relative high--and relative low--growth against the backdrop of the long-term average.
On average, the United States' real per capita personal income grew at an annual rate of 2.21% over 1959-2015. The United States posted its highest growth in 1984 (5.56%) and recorded its lowest growth in 2009 (-4.09%). In 2015, the United States' real per capita personal income grew by 3.30%
United States Real Per Capita Personal Income:
Annual Percent Change and Decade Averages Over 1959-2015
United States Real Per Capita Personal Income:
Annual Percent Change and Decade Averages Over 1959-2015
Figure 4.
Over the past five decades some countries have experienced extreme swings in growth, and often such swings have tended to coincide with the decades themselves. Figure 4 again shows the annual percent change in the United States' real per capita personal income since 1959, but this time they are displayed with average growth rates for the decade of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010-2015.
During the 1960s, the United States' annual real per capita personal income growth rate averaged 3.48%. It averaged 2.34% in the 1970s, 2.21% throughout the 1980s, 2.05% in the 1990s, 1.12% throughout the 2000s, and 1.85% thus far this decade (2010 to 2015).
   
 
United States:
Per Capita Personal Income, 1958-2015
 
1958
 
2,163
0.170
12,726
100.0
N
1959
 
2,262
0.173
13,112
103.0
3.03
1960
 
2,323
0.175
13,248
104.1
1.04
1961
 
2,386
0.177
13,465
105.8
1.63
1962
 
2,499
0.179
13,942
109.5
3.54
1963
 
2,589
0.181
14,274
112.2
2.39
1964
 
2,736
0.184
14,867
116.8
4.15
1965
 
2,919
0.187
15,633
122.8
5.16
1966
 
3,135
0.191
16,378
128.7
4.76
1967
 
3,328
0.196
16,958
133.2
3.54
1968
 
3,616
0.204
17,735
139.4
4.58
1969
 
3,930
0.213
18,441
144.9
3.98
1970
 
4,196
0.223
18,806
147.8
1.98
1971
 
4,468
0.233
19,208
150.9
2.14
1972
 
4,853
0.241
20,173
158.5
5.02
1973
 
5,352
0.254
21,112
165.9
4.66
1974
 
5,824
0.280
20,806
163.5
-1.45
1975
 
6,312
0.303
20,812
163.5
0.03
1976
 
6,856
0.320
21,429
168.4
2.97
1977
 
7,494
0.341
21,993
172.8
2.63
1978
 
8,338
0.365
22,867
179.7
3.97
1979
 
9,212
0.397
23,207
182.4
1.49
1980
 
10,153
0.440
23,096
181.5
-0.48
1981
 
11,262
0.478
23,546
185.0
1.95
1982
 
11,947
0.505
23,666
186.0
0.51
1983
 
12,652
0.527
24,029
188.8
1.53
1984
 
13,860
0.546
25,364
199.3
5.56
1985
 
14,719
0.566
26,013
204.4
2.56
1986
 
15,459
0.578
26,743
210.1
2.81
1987
 
16,265
0.597
27,268
214.3
1.96
1988
 
17,426
0.620
28,119
220.9
3.12
1989
 
18,653
0.646
28,857
226.7
2.62
1990
 
19,591
0.674
29,050
228.3
0.67
1991
 
19,985
0.697
28,692
225.5
-1.23
1992
 
21,060
0.715
29,457
231.5
2.66
1993
 
21,698
0.733
29,610
232.7
0.52
1994
 
22,538
0.748
30,130
236.7
1.75
1995
 
23,568
0.764
30,866
242.5
2.45
1996
 
24,728
0.780
31,711
249.2
2.74
1997
 
25,950
0.793
32,712
257.0
3.16
1998
 
27,510
0.799
34,415
270.4
5.20
1999
 
28,627
0.811
35,294
277.3
2.56
2000
 
30,602
0.831
36,812
289.3
4.30
2001
 
31,540
0.847
37,221
292.5
1.11
2002
 
31,815
0.859
37,049
291.1
-0.46
2003
 
32,692
0.876
37,332
293.3
0.76
2004
 
34,316
0.897
38,255
300.6
2.47
2005
 
35,904
0.923
38,916
305.8
1.73
2006
 
38,144
0.947
40,266
316.4
3.47
2007
 
39,821
0.971
41,010
322.2
1.85
2008
 
41,082
1.001
41,055
322.6
0.11
2009
 
39,376
1.000
39,376
309.4
-4.09
2010
 
40,277
1.017
39,622
311.3
0.63
2011
 
42,453
1.041
40,762
320.3
2.88
2012
 
44,267
1.061
41,714
327.8
2.34
2013
 
44,462
1.075
41,348
324.9
-0.88
2014
 
46,414
1.092
42,523
334.1
2.84
2015
 
48,112
1.095
43,925
345.1
3.30
Source: Calculations by the United States Regional Economic Analysis Project (US-REAP)
with data provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis
November 2016
REAP_PI_SA1400_700_PS
 
   
Copyright © 2016. Pacific Northwest Regional Economic Analysis Project (PNREAP). All Rights Reserved.

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