See How Well Your Neighbors Have Recovered From the Recession
Published December 15, 2015

The recession may have officially ended in mid-2009, but millions of working Americans have seen their income remain frustratingly stagnant since the economy collapsed. New figures from the U.S. Census Bureau confirm that the median household income in the U.S. was $53,482 between 2010 and 2014, down from $56,568 between 2005 and 2009 when adjusted for inflation—a drop of 5%.

By the same metric, just 1,038 of 3,142 counties have a higher median income than they did five years ago. The following map shades every county by its growth or decline in median income since 2009.

The dramatic rise in median income in parts of North Dakota, sources there confirm, is largely due to a bonanza in oil production. In fact, one can clearly see an “oil belt” running straight down the center of the country from the Dakotas to Texas.


Data for 2009 comes from the American Community Survey’s five-year sample from 2005-2009 in 2009 dollars, while data for 2014 is from the ACS five-year survey for 2010-2014. (Five-year samples are necessary to get data for every county.) The 2009 figures in these maps and charts are adjusted up by 10% using the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator.