Sep 18, 2023 - News

Northwest Arkansas gets a raise

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

The median household income across Northwest Arkansas rose 2.9% between 2019 and 2022, per new U.S. Census Bureau data. Median income for the NWA metro area was $73,364 in 2022, compared with $71,294 in 2019, adjusted for inflation.

By the numbers: The share of NWA households making $50,000 to $75,000 annually decreased from 19% to 18% between 2019 and 2022, while the share making more than $100,000 jumped from 27% to 35%.

  • The share of households with an income of $75,000 to $99,000 also increased, from 13% to 14%.
Change in the share of Northwest Arkansas metro area households, by income
Data: U.S. Census; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Yes, but: The median income statewide decreased by 2.04% — from $56,587 in 2019 to $55,432 in 2022 — meaning NWA's median household income is about 32% higher than the state overall.

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

  • The survey is a very valuable resource, providing 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.

  • That trend "explains why Americans have felt so 'meh' about the strong economy over the past couple years," Axios Markets' Emily Peck writes based on similar yet slightly different data released last week.

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.

Go deeper: Where America stands

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