Median income in Vermont was stuck in neutral in 2011, according to an analysis of state Tax Department data.
In its annual analysis, The Vermont Economy Newsletter analysis concluded that after adjusting for inflation, median family income fell in 2011 by $130, or 0.2 percent, compared to 2010.
Fifty percent of families earn more than the median and fifty percent earn less.
“Median family income has been essentially stagnant for the past four years,” said Art Woolf, co-author of the study and editor of The Vermont Economy Newsletter. “During the recession real median income fell by nearly five percent and has not recovered.”
Richard Heaps, the study’s other co-author, said stagnant income growth came as a surprise.
“Vermont’s jobs picture was positive in 2011 and we expected that would translate into higher incomes for the average Vermont family,” Heaps said. “It did. However, inflation was slightly higher than nominal income gains, causing a reduction in inflation-adjusted income.”
Woolf and Heaps are forecasting that when the 2012 numbers are in, the data will show a healthy gain in median inflation-adjusted family income of 1.9 percent with a Vermont family earning $70,000 in 2012,
Woolf added that after adjusting for inflation, income will remain about $1,000 below the 2007 peak level.
Woolf’s and Heaps’ analysis does not include individuals or single heads of households.
According to Woolf and Heaps, state Tax Department data are the most comprehensive data available on family income. “All other government data sources are based on a small sample of Vermonters,” Heaps said, “whereas the Tax Department data is based on the complete universe of more than 124,000 Vermont families with both a husband and wife present.”
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