10 Cities Where Income Grew Fastest in 2016 (and 10 Where It Grew Slowest)

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People walk down a busy street in San Francisco, California.
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Money continues to pour into Silicon Valley, and it shows in the latest income numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis this week.

While that might not be too enlightening, a Penny Hoarder analysis of that data shows similar bumps in per-person income in cities in Utah, Tennessee, Georgia, Maryland and even Indiana. Hey, don’t act surprised — Indiana made our list of the top states getting richer in 2016.

On the other end of the spectrum, residents in some large metropolitan areas in Oklahoma, Texas, Florida and other areas of the south are actually getting poorer.

As far as the entire U.S. goes… meh. In total, personal income ticked up about 1.7% last year (which is why you should always be looking for ways to stack extra cash on the side).

These Cities Saw Major Growth in Paydays in 2016

To take a look at how cities ranked, we looked at the change in per capita personal income (a fancy pants way of saying your annual pay) from 2015 to 2016, since that’s the most recent data made available by the BEA.

We only used the 100 most populous metro areas in this analysis. (Sorry Jacksonville, North Carolina — you’re still No.1 in income growth in our heart.)

1. San Francisco, California

A scenic photo of San Francisco, Calif.

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Income growth: 4.2%

Income: $84,675

First off, I’m pretty jelly over here thinking about raking in $84,000 a year — even though that might afford you a one-bedroom closet to call home in Silicon Valley.

Unsurprisingly, IT drove this influx of new earnings, with a 25% increase in pay in that sector over the previous year. Arts and entertainment earnings also grew 11% in 2016.

2. San Jose, California

A downtown building photo in San Jose, California.

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Income growth: 4.2%

Income: $87,643

San Jose is always nipping at San Fran’s heels, it seems. And while the average San Josian pulled in more than your typical San Franciscan, their earnings growth was slightly under 4.2% by just a few decimal points.

Due to confidential information in the data, there’s not much information on what exactly is driving this income jump. But construction earnings increased 18%, and manufacturing earnings ticked up 8%. One interesting note: Income from data processing plummeted 29%.

3. Provo, Utah

A scenic photo of Provo, Utah

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Income growth: 4%

Income: $36,154

Provo has to be one of the few places where retail trade is flourishing, as opposed to, you know, the whole retail apocalypse thing.

In fact, retail trade helped drive the metro area’s uptick with a 12% increase in 2016. Scenic and sightseeing transit jumped 101%, and telecommunications income increased 45% over the same period.

4. Salt Lake City, Utah

An aerial photo of downtown Salt Lake City, Utah.

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Income growth: 3.5%

Income: $46,023

I don’t necessarily associate entertainment and the arts with Salt Lake City, but that certainly may be changing.

Arts and entertainment earnings increased 18% in 2016, while traditional industries like construction, transportation and warehousing boosted the city 10% increases each.

5. Stockton, California

A sunset view of Stockton, California.

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Income growth: 3.5%

Income: $40,458

The arts also drove Stockton, California’s income bump in 2016, with a 19% increase in earnings over the previous year.

The rest of the city’s economy saw pretty balanced growth. Still, mining and oil and gas extraction income did increase by 10%, echoing trends in earnings upticks you see in a lot of smaller metro areas we didn’t include in this list.

6. Nashville, Tennessee

A street scene of two women looking at the world Nashville on the side of a building in Nashville, Tenn.

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Income growth: 3.4%

Income: $52,450

For such an interesting city, Nashville, Tennessee’s personal income growth has a pretty boring story (womp, womp).

Transportation and warehousing jobs paid about 10% more in 2016, while real estate and construction earnings both jumped 9% in the same timeframe.

7. Ogden, Utah

A man gets ready to go fishing in the Ogden River in Utah.

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Income growth: 3.3%

Income: $39,381

Another Utah city? Really?

Like Salt Lake City, Ogden, Utah, also saw major earnings growth from the arts, with a 14% increase in income from the arts and entertainment industry.

Utah just might be a state to keep an eye on in the coming years.

8. Atlanta, Georgia

A scenic photo of downtown Atlanta, GA.

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Income growth: 3.1%

Income: $47,348

Atlanta’s film and music industries helped boost per capita incomes in the southern city in 2016, with a 68% increase in earnings from the motion picture and sound production sectors.

Telecommunications — and specifically data processing — jumped 18% last year, showing an increase in attention from the tech industry.

9. Baltimore, Maryland

A photo of the Baltimore skyline.

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Income growth: 3.1%

Income: $57,189

OK, after several viewings of “The Wire” in its entirety, Baltimore may not seem like the most, uh, appealing place to buy property. That’s wrong, according to the data.

Real estate and rental income jumped 29% in 2016 over the last year. Arts and entertainment earnings increased 10%.

10. Indianapolis, Indiana

A yellow bicycle sits on a busy street in Indianapolis, Indiana.

benedek/Getty Images

Income growth: 3.1%

Income: $49,681

Indianapolis isn’t just a great city for millennials — it’s also racking up income like it’s nobody’s business.

While most of its economy has experienced balanced income growth, farmers’ incomes skyrocketed by more than 300%. Urban farming has likely driven that surprising bit of growth.

If you live in one of those cities, enjoy your newfound wealth. But remember to stay on top of that budget — don’t get cocky now.

These 10 Cities Are Falling Behind in Pay Per Person

Sarasota, Florida, USA downtown skyline.

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While the top 10 cities on this list may be coming up with ways to spend their fresh cash, those in the bottom 10 should probably be looking for ways to save the precious income they have left.

Here are the bottom 10 metro areas in income growth for 2016:

  • Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Houston, Texas
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Cape Coral, Florida
  • Bakersfield, California
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Sarasota, Florida
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Wichita, Kansas

Remember, there’s always next year!

Alex Mahadevan is a data journalist at The Penny Hoarder. His hometown is in the bottom 10, but luckily he works for a company where he learns saving tips every single day.

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