When income goes up, it can lessen the burden of inflation and even outpace it. The Consumer Price Index, which measures the average change in prices over time, jumped roughly 13.5% in 24 months from 2021 to 2022. But the median income across major U.S. cities over the same time period only went up 8.1%, which means that the wages of many Americans were undercut by inflation. Despite this gap between income and inflation increases, workers in some U.S. cities were able to keep up with and even beat consumer cost increases.
To find out where Americans were most affected by income changes over one year, SmartAsset examined Census Bureau data for 349 of the largest U.S. cities.
- Income grew by about 30% in just one year in three cities. Residents in The Woodlands, TX (31.1%); Palm Bay, FL (30.9%); and Rancho Cucamonga, CA (29.2%) saw over three times the average median income growth (8.1%) across major cities.
- Despite its high cost of living, the median income in New York City is just shy of $75,000. While the median NYC income is at par with the national average, basic costs in the Big Apple range from 36% to 122% more expensive than average depending on the borough.
- Income decreased by more than 10% in these cities. Lafayette, LA had the biggest drop in income at 12.9%, going from a median of $57,953 to $50,504. Lee’s Summit, MO and Stamford, CT also saw median incomes go from just over $100,000 to shy of $90,000.
- The Bay Area maintains median incomes up to $170,000. Incomes are highest in Sunnyvale ($169,781), Fremont ($162,336), San Mateo ($159,275) and Santa Clara ($158,614). In San Mateo, median income has grown 22.6% over just one year. Income growth in the other cities was at or below the national average.
Top 10 Increases in Median Incomes
1. The Woodlands, Texas
The Woodlands experienced a growth of 31.1% in median income over one year, jumping from $104,787 in 2021 to $137,335 in 2022.
2. Palm Bay, Florida
From 2021 to 2022, Palm Bay’s median income increased by 30.87%, going from $54,746 to $71,645.
3. Rancho Cucamonga, California
Rancho Cucamonga's income surged by 29.21%, with earnings increasing from $83,850 in 2021 to $108,345 in 2022.
4. Visalia, California
Visalia residents saw a 26.80% increase in median income, rising to $81,362 in 2022 from $64,165 the previous year.
5. Buckeye, Arizona
In Buckeye, the median income grew nearly 26.3% over the year, rising from $75,417 in 2021 to $95,235 in 2022.
6. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
The median income in Fort Lauderdale was $81,544 inr 2022, up 25.6% from $64,912.
7. Miami, Florida
Miami median income grew by approximately 25.0%, increasing to $60,989 in 2022 from $48,789 a year earlier.
8. Elizabeth, New Jersey
Elizabeth residents saw income grow by 24.4%,rising from $51,549 to $64,113 in 2022.
9. Antioch, California
Antioch's median income grew by 23.7%, shifting from $81,008 in 2021 to $100,178 in 2022.
10. Surprise, Arizona
The median income in Surprise grew by 23.59% in just one year, with figures increasing from $78,411 to $96,912.
Data and Methodology
This study examined U.S. Census Bureau 1-Year American Community Survey Data for 2022 and 2021. The median household income in 2022 was compared to that in 2021 for the 349 largest U.S. cities (those with a population over 100,000 in 2022). Cities were ranked based on the percentage increase in one-year income growth.
Financial Tips for Your Working Years
- Scale your retirement savings. As you climb the income ladder and receive raises throughout your career, consider increasing the percentage of income that you save for retirement. Fidelity recommends that you have 10x your annual income saved by age 67. SmartAsset’s retirement calculator can help you determine whether you’re on track or need to save more.
- Be conscious of your tax bracket. Salary increases and bonuses are great, but be cognizant of your tax bracket and projected income for the year. If you’re on the verge of crossing the next tax threshold, you may want to hold off on selling that company stock or any other transactions that could leave you paying a higher marginal tax rate.
- Work with a financial advisor. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
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