Income

Median household income for rural (nonmetropolitan) counties rose to $45,295 in 2016, an increase of 1.2 percent over the prior year (after adjusting for inflation). This was the third year in a row of rising real income for the median rural household, but growth was slower than in 2015, when median income rose by 3.4 percent. Urban (metropolitan) median income has now risen for 4 years in a row, reaching $60,542 in 2016.

In all years since 2007, rural median income was about 25 percent below the urban median. However, because these figures do not take account of geographic differences in the cost of living, this may overstate the gap in household purchasing power between urban and rural areas.

 

Real median household income by residence, 2007–16 (in 2016 dollars)
Year Nonmetro median household income ($) Nonmetro change from previous year (%) Metro median household income ($) Metro change from previous year (%) Nonmetro as percentage of metro (%)
2007 46,394 n.a 61,426 n.a. 75.5
2008 45,769 -1.3* 61,302 -0.2 74.7
2009 44,423 -2.9* 58,901 -3.9* 75.4
2010 44,068 -0.8* 57,232 -2.8* 77.0
2011 43,420 -1.5* 55,938 -2.3* 77.6
2012 43,290 -0.3 56,038 0.2 77.3
2013** 43,013 -0.6* 56,444 0.7* 76.2
2014 43,288 0.6* 56,951 0.9* 76.0
2015 44,770 3.4* 58,995 3.6* 75.9
2016 45,295 1.2* 60,542 2.6* 74.8
Notes: *Indicates a statistically significant change in median income from the previous year, at the 90-percent confidence level at minimum. **The definition of metropolitan areas changed beginning in 2013, which moved some counties from nonmetro to metro status and reduced the number of nonmetro households from 19.4 million in 2012 to 17.7 million in 2013. 
Source: USDA, Economic Research Service using data from U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, Table B19013, various years (via American Fact Finder). Adjusted for inflation using CPI-U.