The financial crisis and its aftereffects had a significant impact on American’s incomes. But the slow income growth that continued after the recession ended has also increased public awareness that income stagnation is a national problem that pre-dates the financial crisis and extends back into the late 1970s. Between 1950 and 1975, the U.S. median household income rose by over 50 percent. Since then income growth has been nearly flat. In Virginia, which had a comparatively healthy economy over the past few decades, the median household income rose less than 2 percent over the entire period between 1990 and 2013. But on the local level in Virginia, changes in income have been considerably more varied since 1990.
Change in Household IncomeLarge swaths of Southside, the Valley, and the Richmond metro area have experienced declines in their median household incomes during the period between 1990 and 2013. Martinsville’s median household income was halved during the past two decades and by 2013 the city had the lowest median household income in the state. Many of the localities whose residents’ incomes rose during this period were in the outer suburbs of Virginia’s Urban Crescent, which stretches from Northern Virginia to Hampton Roads, and grew wealthier as more workers moved out to them during the housing boom. Read Full Article →