Sep 14, 2023 - News

Houston metro sees household income decline

Change in median household income, 2019 to 2022
Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The median household income across the Houston metro area fell 6.4% between 2019 and 2022, per new U.S. Census Bureau data.

  • The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro's median income was $74,863 in 2022, compared to $79,986 in 2019, adjusted for inflation.

By the numbers: The share of the area's residents earning less than $49,000 decreased, while the percentage of people making more than $100,000 increased.

  • The share of people earning $50,000 to $99,000 stayed about the same.
Change in the share of Houston metro area households, by income
U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

State of play: The Houston metro area saw the largest dip compared to other Texas metros.

  • Texas saw a 2.35% decrease in median household income, from $74,021 in 2019 to $72,284 in 2022.
  • Meanwhile, the Austin area saw a 1% increase to $94,604, Dallas-Fort Worth declined nearly 1% to $82,823, and the San Antonio area declined about 2% to $70,538.

Details: The new data comes by way of the Census Bureau's 2022 American Community Survey (ACS) one-year estimates, released Thursday.

  • The ACS is one of the best resources available for a regularly published, quantified look at myriad facets of American life, down to a remarkably local level.

The big picture: Nationally, median household income fell 1.6% between 2019 and 2022, adjusted for inflation.

The intrigue: The COVID-19 pandemic "changed the geography of where money is made in the United States," Axios Macro's Neil Irwin reports, as many higher-income Americans decamped from cities like New York and San Francisco to "rural and exurban places and popular vacation destinations."

Of note: Because the latest ACS release is based on 2022 data, it's capturing what some call the "late pandemic era," when many elements of normality returned but the pandemic still loomed in the background, affecting many aspects of life.

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