20 Cities With The Biggest Growth In Income Over The Last Decade

20-cities-with-the-biggest-growth-in-income-over-the-last-decade

Harvard University along the Charles River

Harvard University along the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which ranked as the No. 3 … [+] city with the largest growth in income since 2010.

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In the United States, the 2010s were a time of economic recovery and, eventually, growth in the aftermath of the housing crash and financial crisis of the late 2000s. Many cities were so shaken by those crises that they never fully recovered, while others not only recovered — they saw their economies surge forth, taking incomes along for the ride.

In order to determine the cities in the U.S. with the biggest growth in income, data was sourced from the Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey five-year estimates, including median household incomes and the share of households earning different levels of income. Cities had to have a population of 100,000 or more to be considered. To rank the cities by income growth, both the percentage change in household incomes and absolute change in household incomes were factored in, and each city then given a score. The results are quite telling: There are 10 cities from California among the top-20 cities with the largest growth in income. Massachusetts, Texas and Washington state each have two cities that rank among the top-20.

Here’s a look at the top-20 cities in the U.S. with the biggest growth in income over the last decade.

Sunnyvale, California

2010 Median Household Income: $90,174

2019 Median Household Income: $140,631

Out of all U.S. cities with populations of more than 100,000, Sunnyvale has seen the biggest increase in household income in absolute dollar amount. Sunnyvale’s median household income increased by more than $50,000 over the last decade, from $90,174 in 2010 to $140,631 in 2019 — equal to a 56% increase in percentage terms.

The share of households earning more than $150,000 has increased dramatically since 2010. Back in 2010, 23.5% of all households in Sunnyvale had median incomes of $150,000 or more. From that already-high percentage, Sunnyvale’s share of households earning more than $150,000 rose to approximately 46.7% in 2019, an absolutely stunning figure.

San Francisco, California

2010 Median Household Income: $71,304

2019 Median Household Income: $112,449

To the northwest of Sunnyvale is the No. 2 city on our list: San Francisco. From 2010 to 2019, the median household income in San Francisco rose by 57.7%, from $71,304 to $112,449. This rate of increase is the second highest in this study, but ahead of Sunnyvale’s 56% increase.

Cambridge, Massachusetts

2010 Median Household Income: $64,865

2019 Median Household Income: $103,154

Cambridge experienced the greatest percentage increase in its median household income since 2010 out of all U.S. cities with more than 100,000 people. The median household income in Cambridge grew by 59%, from $64,865 in 2010 to $103,154 in 2019. There are many factors fueling this increase in incomes but being home to cream-of-the-crop colleges like Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has certainly helped, generating significant economic and population growth in the city.

San Mateo, California

2010 Median Household Income: $83,850

2019 Median Household Income: $124,842

Returning to the Bay Area, the No. 4 city with the biggest growth in income over the last decade is San Mateo. The city already had a very high median household income back in 2010, at $83,850. But since then, its grown by 48.9%, reaching $124,842 in 2019. The proportion of households earning top-dollar also increased dramatically. In 2010, 19.8%, or about a fifth of households in San Mateo, had median incomes in excess of $150,000. Fast-forward to 2019 and the share of households earning that has jumped to 41.3%.

Santa Clara, California

2010 Median Household Income: $85,294

2019 Median Household Income: $126,006

Tucked in between Sunnyvale and San Jose is the No. 5 city, Santa Clara. This city is home of Levi’s Stadium, where the San Francisco 49ers play. And like so much of the Bay Area, if not all of it, cost of living and incomes are high, and increasing. Over the last decade, the median household income in Santa Clara rose by 47.7%. Relatedly, the share of households earning $150,000 or more also increased substantially. In 2010, the percentage of households in Santa Clara earning $150,000 or more stood at 20.2%. By 2019, however, that percentage had risen to 41.3%, which means it more than doubled in a decade.

Bellevue, Washington

2010 Median Household Income: $81,912

2019 Median Household Income: $120,456

Bellevue is a fast-growing city, just across Lake Washington from Seattle, which has seen its incomes rise immensely over the last decade. From 2010 to 2019, the median household income in Bellevue rose by more than 47%, from just under $82,000, up to more than $120,000 annually. Similar to cities in the Bay Area, the share of households earning big money has increased markedly over the same period. In 2010, just under 21% of households earned more than $150,000 a year, but by 2019, that share had reached nearly 40%.

Seattle, Washington

2010 Median Household Income: $60,665

2019 Median Household Income: $92,263

Coming in at No. 7 is Bellevue’s larger neighbor, Seattle. Incomes have exploded in Seattle over the last decade, rising by 52.1% from 2010 to 2019, which is one of the fastest rates of growth in the study. The proportion of households earning $150,000 or more saw its share double from 2010 to 2019. In 2010, only 13.4% of households reported annual income of $150,000 or more; in 2019, this percentage reached 28.5%. Over the same period, middle-income households declined as a share of total households. For example, households earning between $50,000 and $75,000 decreased from 17.3% in 2010 to 13.5% in 2019.

Fremont, California

2010 Median Household Income: $96,287

2019 Median Household Income: $133,354

Fremont is another Bay Area city to make our list, witnessing incomes go from already-high to even higher. While the median household income rose only by 38.5% from 2010 to 2019, Fremont’s growth in absolute terms of $37,067 is one of the largest in the study. Not surprisingly, as incomes grew, so did the share of households earning the highest incomes. Back in 2010, households earning $150,000 or more constituted about a quarter of households in Fremont. By 2019, that proportion had grown to 44.3% of households.

Washington, D.C.

2010 Median Household Income: $58,526

2019 Median Household Income: $86,420

The nation’s capital comes in as the No. 9 city with the biggest growth in income over the last 10 years. From a median household income of $58,526 in 2010, Washington, D.C.’s, median household income reached $86,420 in 2019, equivalent to a growth rate of 47.7%. As incomes have risen, the share of households earning top-dollar has increased while middle-income households have decreased a bit. In 2010, less than 17% of households earned $150,000 or more a year, but by 2019, that percentage rose to 28.2%. The share of households earning $50,000 to $75,000 a year, however, declined over the last decade: from 15.6% of households in 2010, down to 12.2% in 2019; the share of households earning $35,000 o $50,000 also declined, from nearly 12% in 2010, down to only 7.7% in 2019.

Denver, Colorado

2010 Median Household Income: $45,501

2019 Median Household Income: $68,592

Denver has experienced incredible growth in its population and incomes since 2010. Back then, the city only had a median household income of $45,501. By the end of the decade, the median household income had risen by more than 50%, reaching $68,592 in 2019. Denver has seen its share of top-earning households also increase over the same period, but not as quickly as in the Bay Area. In 2010, the percentage of households earning $150,000 or more was 8.7%. At the end of the decade, that percentage had grown to 18.1% of all households.

Berkeley, California

2010 Median Household Income: $58,617

2019 Median Household Income: $85,530

The Bay Area continues to make the list, with Berkeley as the No. 11 city with the biggest growth in income over the last decade. Home to one of the nation’s top universities — University of California, Berkeley — the city of Berkeley has watched its median household income rise by 45.9% over the last decade: from $58,617 in 2010 to $85,530 in 2019. The proportion of households earning $150,000 increased noticeably, from only 17% in 2010 to 30.3% in 2019. At the same time, middle-income households declined. The share of households earning $50,000 to $75,000 decreased from 14% in 2010 to 12% in 2019; the share of households earning between $35,000 and $50,000 decreased from nearly 12% in 2010, down to 8.2% in 2019.

Midland, Texas

2010 Median Household Income: $53,965

2019 Median Household Income: $79,329

Midland is a good old fashion boomtown. Thanks to a dynamic and growing local economy, Midland has witnessed significant growth in household incomes. Back in 2010, Midland’s median household income was less than $54,000. Come 2019 and Midland’s median household income has climbed to nearly $80,000, an increase of around 47% since 2010. Linked to this is the growth in top-earning households. Back in 2010, households earning $150,000 or more comprised only 11.9% of total households. By 2019, however, that percentage of top-earning households had grown to nearly 21%.

Oakland, California

2010 Median Household Income: $49,721

2019 Median Household Income: $73,692

Oakland has changed a lot over the years, but one of the most noticeable areas is in the wealth of its residents. At the start of the decade, Oakland’s median household income was less than $50,000. By the end of the decade, the city’s median household income would come in a little shy of $74,000, with incomes growing by 48.2% from 2010 to 2019.

San Jose, California

2010 Median Household Income: $79,405

2019 Median Household Income: $109,593

The largest city in Silicon Valley, San Jose has also consistently been one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. Being in the heart of the tech-heavy and, therefore, high-paying Silicon Valley, San Jose has watched its incomes rise substantially over the last decade. The median household income grew by 38%, from just under $80,000 in 2010, to just under $110,000 in 2019. Of course, as incomes have risen in San Jose, so has cost of living, which has put the squeeze on middle-income households. While the share of households earning $150,000 or more rose from 20.2% in 2010 to 36.2% in 2019, the share earning between $35,000 and $75,000 declined from 25.9% in 2010 to 19.2% in 2019.

Hayward, California

2010 Median Household Income: $61,268

2019 Median Household Income: $86,744

Hayward is yet another Bay Area city to make the list of the 20 cities with the biggest growth in income over the last decade. Beginning as a city whose economy was heavily centered on manufacturing, Hayward has diversified, retaining substantial manufacturing facilities while adding high-tech companies into the fold. Incomes have risen rapidly in Hayward over the last 10 years, with the median household income increasing by 41.6% from 2010 to 2019. More impressive is the fact that most of this growth came in a span of just four years: In 2015, the median household income was $65,096, before rising by 33.3% to its current level of $86,744 in 2019.

Portland, Oregon

2010 Median Household Income: $48,831

2019 Median Household Income: $71,005

In terms of both its population and income, Portland has been on a hot streak for many years now. Since 1980, the population has increased by double-digit percentages every decade. What’s more, the growth in incomes in Portland over the last decade is incredible. From a median household income of less than $50,000 in 2010, Portland’s median income rose by 45.4%, reaching $71,005 in 2019. That’s the sixth-largest percentage increase of cities with 500,000 people or more. As such, the percentage of top-earning households has increased markedly. In 2010, only 7.9% of Portland households earned $150,000 or more a year, but by 2019, that would reach 17.6%.

Concord, California

2010 Median Household Income: $65,123

2019 Median Household Income: $89,564

Concord is a major city in the East Bay region of California, close to 30 miles east of San Francisco in Contra Costa County. Initially more of a suburb whose residents commuted to San Francisco for work, Concord has come into its own right, creating a robust local economy. Incomes have grown significantly in Concord, about 38% over the last decade. However, what’s really interesting is how uneven the pace of income growth has been. From 2010 to 2015, the median household income only grew from $65,123 to $68,318. But from 2015 to 2019, it grew from $68,318 to $89,564 — a 31.1% increase in only four years.

Austin, Texas

2010 Median Household Income: $50,520

2019 Median Household Income: $71,576

The capital of Texas has come a long way form 2010. Back at the beginning of the last decade, the median household income in Austin was $50,520. After years of economic growth and a surging population in the 2010s, Austin’s median household income surpassed $70,000 by 2019, an increase of nearly 42%. Top-earning households have increased in Austin, with those earning $150,000 or more a year rising from only 9.8% in 2010, up to 19% in 2019.

Boston, Massachusetts

2010 Median Household Income: $50,684

2019 Median Household Income: $71,115

Boston is an east coast city that has managed to keep up with the pace of changes in America’s economy. Where many cities in the Northeast have struggled with deindustrialization, Boston has stayed preeminent thanks to a dynamic economy that’s home to prestigious institutions like Harvard and MIT, and a strong tech industry. From a median household income of $50,684 in 2010, Boston’s median income clocked in at $71,115 in 2019, for a growth rate of 40.3% over the last decade. In addition, the share of households earning $150,000 or more nearly doubled, from 11.4% in 2010 to 22.2% in 2019.

Hillsboro, Oregon

2010 Median Household Income: $60,695

2019 Median Household Income: $82,275

Hillsboro lies to the west of Portland and, like many other cities to make this list, is heavy on the tech industry. The city has grown immensely, posting double-digit percentage increases in population going all the way back to 1910. Now, with a population of more than 100,000, Hillsboro has witnessed major changes, especially in the incomes of its residents. In 2010, the median household income was $60,695, growing to $67,757 in 2015, and then adding almost another $15,000 over four years, reaching $82,275 in 2019.

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