News: Oregonians Have More Income

Blog Post
March 31, 2012By Chuck Sheketoff

New data released this week from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that Oregon’s per capita personal income increased 4.4 percent last year, while the nation’s per capita personal income increased 4.3 percent. Our neighbor to the north, Washington, saw its per capita personal income grow 4.0 percent.

How did this happen? Oregon’s personal income rose 5.3 percent in 2011, compared to a 5.1 percent increase for the nation. Oregon’s personal income is an estimate of what you would get when you add up all of the income received by Oregonians (except for income from capital gains).

Per capita personal income is what you get when you divide personal income by the total number of people in the state; you get the average personal income and at the same time account for changes in population over time.

Over the course of the last decade, when taking into consideration the effects of inflation, Oregon personal income is up 13.9 percent and per capita personal income is up 2 percent.

Bottom line: the combined and average personal income of Oregonians increased last year and over the past decade. This is one example of how Oregon’s economy performs well over time. There’s plenty of ways to show that over time Oregon has had good economic performance.

. . . shared prosperity still lacking

Unfortunately, that has not translated into increased prosperity for most Oregonians. Income inequality is vast and poverty has been on the rise.

Income inequality and poverty — not per capita personal income — are the issues that cry out for the attention of Oregon’s policymakers.

This post was originally published on on March 30, 2012. The original post can be found at