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Since 2000, D.C. Area Wealth Grew at Twice National Average
Pajamas Media ^ | 12/01/2012

Posted on 12/02/2012 7:18:11 AM PST by SeekAndFind

From a recent Glenn Reynolds USA Today column [1]:

So Washington gets fat, and it does so on money taken from the rest of the country.

Just how fat have Washington and the Beltway counties gotten? According to the latest U.S. Census data, between 2000 and 2010 the richest of the Washington, D.C., area have accrued about twice as much new wealth as those not living in or around the area.

Also, some Washington counties have gotten about twice as much new wealth as some of the other richest counties in the United States.

An April 2012 Forbes article [2] lists the 10 richest counties in the United States — the list contains five D.C.-area counties, including the top three richest on the list.

A comparison with the other richest counties and with the rest of the United States gives a more detailed picture. I compared the differences in median income (family and household) between these 10 counties and the rest of the United States, in addition to looking at income growth over the 10-year period 2000 to 2010. (All of the data that I used come from the U.S. Census website [3].)

From 2000 to 2010, the richest Washington-area counties’ income (by two income measures — defined at the end of this article) grew at about twice the rate of the rest of the country. D.C.-area income also grew at almost twice the rate as the other richest counties in the country not located in the Washington area.

Here are the counties I used, taken from the Forbes list (note that I include D.C. — it makes sense to use the epicenter of the region’s wealth, although its income, by both measures, actually brings the average of the other five down):

The five counties not in the D.C. area:

After averaging the counties’ incomes in 2000 and 2010, using both measures:


The percentage growth in median household income from 2000 to 2010:

The percentage growth in median family income from 2000 to 2010:

There are some differences between median household and median family, but those differences are not significantly higher or lower.

The graphs below show the difference in percentage change of income growth between the richest D.C.-area counties and the rest of the United States:


The differences in income growth, using these two measures, are clear. The D.C. area has gotten fatter, especially the richest counties.

In addition to the public relations and lobbying boom Glenn mentions as one factor influencing the region’s wealth, total federal spending is likely another influencing factor. Income growth rates in the richest D.C.-area counties (and Washington itself) are approximately twice those for the rest of the country; the D.C.-area growth rates are 10% higher than the richest non-D.C.-area counties.

The percentage of total federal government spending growth for 2000 to 2010 corresponds closely to the percentage growth in median incomes in the D.C. area’s richest counties compared to the rest of the United States: it also approximately doubles, from around $1.8 trillion in 2000 to around $3.5 trillion in 2010. Total federal spending is certainly not the only indicator of income growth in the Washington region, but there appears to be a relationship.


I used two different measures of income from the U.S. Census:

Median Household Income [6]: “Income of the householder and all other individuals 15 years old and over in the household, whether they are related to the householder or not”.

Median Family Income [7]: The total income of a family, as defined by the Census: “A family consists of two or more people (one of whom is the householder) related by birth, marriage, or adoption residing in the same housing unit.” This definition is more likely to have a dual-income household.


Article printed from PJ Media:

URL to article:

URLs in this post:

[1] USA Today column:

[2] April 2012 Forbes article:

[3] U.S. Census website:

[4] Image:

[5] Image:

[6] Median Household Income:

[7] Median Family Income:

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: federalsinkhole; government; income; washdc; washdcincome; wealth

1 posted on 12/02/2012 7:18:17 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Good article.

Washington DC, the mecca of bureaucracies, is a big feed trough from which the denizens of DC and the surrounding affluent states belly up to the bar and gorge themselves. The rest of the country just doesn’t get it even though its right there in their face.

2 posted on 12/02/2012 7:32:30 AM PST by Starboard
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To: SeekAndFind
Four of this nation's five richest counties...and seven out the ten richest counties...are suburbs of Washington,DC,the *one* major city that produces *nothing* of value...*nothing* that you can hold in your hands.
3 posted on 12/02/2012 7:32:35 AM PST by Gay State Conservative (Benghazi: What Did Baraq Know And When Did He Know It?)
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To: SeekAndFind; ding_dong_daddy_from_dumas; stephenjohnbanker; DoughtyOne; Gilbo_3; NFHale; Impy; ...

Yep I live on one of those ‘got rich’ counties listed above and I occasionally point this out. It’s a big party here while other parts of America are sinking in debt and foreclosures.

This is why I don’t think that Republicans shouldnt be demanding the repealing the automatic spending cuts that they passed while claiming they want spending cuts. They are a big part of the problem.

DC to the rest of the food stamp country :”Let them eat cake”

4 posted on 12/02/2012 7:34:21 AM PST by sickoflibs (Dems want to win.The GOP wants to whine. Why dont they fight to win like Dems do?)
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To: Gay State Conservative

Washington,DC,the *one* major city that produces *nothing* of value
DC is a giant bureaucracy that “produces” mountains of paperwork, innumerable rules, senseless regulations, burdensome taxes, and economically destructive programs. These are the types of things that lots of people in the DC region do for living. And they are very highly compensated for their “efforts” thanks to the gullible taxpayers of this country who ignorantly fund the comfortable and high lifestyles of the bureaucrats and their legions of paper pushers.

5 posted on 12/02/2012 7:42:00 AM PST by Starboard
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To: SeekAndFind
6 posted on 12/02/2012 8:00:26 AM PST by Huskrrrr
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To: Starboard

Yeah, had to ride through that area two years ago. I thought I had gone to consumer heaven. No signs of any recession, no sign of anything except a bunch of over paid bureaucrats and lobbyists shuttling around in BMWs. Unfortunately it is so spread out now that even one medium sized nuke cannot get it all.

Unfortunately our capital has become what Moscow was in the 70s and 80s to their had to have a pass to go there. Here the pass is a wallet full of cash and if you are not one of the political elite, stay home.

I submit it would be a good idea to relocate our constitutional government to somewhere more in line with either the geographic or population center of the country. Somewhere they consider “flyover” country to give them a sense of what this country is about. Sorry for the threat to those in Nebraska or Kansas such a move would do to their regions BUT they will have to take one for the team I fear. BTW, only the elected representatives would be able to move and work in this lobbyists for example.

7 posted on 12/02/2012 8:14:59 AM PST by Mouton (Voting is an opiate of the electorate. Nothing changes no matter who wins..)
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To: SeekAndFind

These are the true “1%” that OWS hates so much.

8 posted on 12/02/2012 8:23:11 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (Labor unions are the Communist Party of the USA.)
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To: Mouton

Not a surprise. But there is perhps a bit of “bias” in the analysis.

One of the things that has happened in DC and surrounding territory in Northern VA is displacement. In DC proper, it’s lower middle class for outsiders, few of whom are LMC. Not that all of the outsiders are high income, but they are filling places where the income was a lot less. Since it’s happening relatively quickly, it gives high growth numbers. In much of DC that’s close to saturation, and the eastern part of town is seeing the growth now, but it won’t last forever. If the growth slows down, it may not be pretty around here. DC proper isn’t that big a place (~600K).

The growth is a lot singles and older couples (DINK’s) and gay in some downtown parts. All can move out quickly, not having kids in schools and long term ties to the community.

NOVA is new construction and some teardown (think McLean) in some close in towns. Replacing a farm with a house will show a high growth gradient. That will level off before too long.

There is an air of unreality now, but reality always catches up.

9 posted on 12/02/2012 8:27:56 AM PST by Blagden Alley
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To: Blagden Alley

I lived in one of the WDC ring counties for 30 years. The WDC area is gorging on your tax dollars. Many there think fly-over people are chumps and yokels...yet those chumps and yokels allow them to live grandly through their taxes. If Americans saw the excess and the attitude sales of tar-and-feathers and pitchforks would soar.

10 posted on 12/02/2012 8:40:09 AM PST by hal ogen (First Amendment or Reeducation Camp?)
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To: Blagden Alley

“There is an air of unreality now, but reality always catches up.”

Yeah, but I think I would substitute the word superiority for unreality in your wind up. Also, I was addressing attitude more than the income numbers. Reality will catch up when the nation goes BK. (Two of whom reality can not strike quick enough for me are the Senate Majority leader from Search light Nv who spends most of his time at his condo at the Ritz Carlton in DC, and Mr. Marry a Millionairess Kerry who owes his lifestyle to dumb heiresses. Both have egos the size of Alaska without the ableness to back them up.)

I say this from a perspective of living in NOVA in the late 70s. The financial tread was in place then but it seems in the past dozen or so years, it has gone vertical especially compared with the rest of the US.

11 posted on 12/02/2012 8:45:12 AM PST by Mouton (Voting is an opiate of the electorate. Nothing changes no matter who wins..)
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To: SeekAndFind
Surprised to see Marin County no longer on that list.

And what's with Los Alamos? Why is wealth there growing so fast?

12 posted on 12/02/2012 12:34:23 PM PST by what's up
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To: what's up

Nuclear physicists and the Chinese who steal from them?

13 posted on 12/02/2012 12:41:47 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
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