Federal Report Shows Tallahassee Personal Income Up 2.5%, But Lagging Comparable Cities

Federal Report Shows Tallahassee Personal Income Up 2.5%, But Lagging Comparable Cities

For the first time since 2007, a recently released report by the United States Department of Commerce indicates that Per Capita Personal Income (PCPI) has increased in all 366 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA). Personal income in the United States was up 5.2% in 2011 over 2010 for an average PCPI of $41,560.

A MSA is a government defined geographical region with a relatively high population density at its core and close economic ties throughout the area. A typical metropolitan area is centered around a single large city that wields substantial influence over the region.

Per capita income is often used as a measure of the wealth of the population of a geographic area, such as a city, county, state or nation.

The data for the Tallahassee MSA shows that PCPI increased 2.5 % over 2010 levels to $34,740. Tallahassee’s gain was less than the 3.4% increase in Florida PCPI, which increased to $39,636.

The report released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis is a treasure trove of data that allows for comparisons across states, counties and cities. The data provides a look into how communities are recovering from the devastating economic climate over the last six years.

Tallahassee Reports has put together a table that compares the change in per capita personal income from 2001 to 2011 in16 Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the Southeast.

Comparison of Per Capita Personal Income, 2001-2011





% Change
US Rank

State Capital
Top 100
Charlottesville, VA203,882$31,89306903$44,3500470139.1%22NY
Richmond, VA1,269,380$32,78705102$43,0460630231.3%-12YY
Birmingham, AL1,132,264$30,02810404$40,8160900335.9%14NY
Raleigh, NC1,163,515$35,01903001$40,6310930416.0%-63NY
Baton Rouge, LA808,242$25,92821710$38,9851320550.4%85YY
Columbus, GA301,439$25,80822211$38,6531380649.8%84NN
Jackson, MS545,394$27,17017507$37,5441610738.2%14YN
Panama City, FL169,856$25,40923912$37,0681730845.9%66NN
Knoxville, TN704,500$28,22014505$36,9581770931.0%-32NY
Montgomery, AL378,608$27,09617808$36,4501851034.5%-07YN
Pensacola, FL453,218$24,86526715$36,0791941145.1%73NN
Gainesville, FL266,369$25,11925213$35,4972061241.3%46NY
Columbia, SC777,116$27,87415006$35,3502121326.8%-62YY
Tallahassee, FL369,758$26,33720409$34,7402321431.9%-28YY
Tuscaloosa, AL221,553$24,52328716$34,3052481539.9%39NY
Lakeland, FL609,492$24,89826614$33,4472671634.3%-01NN
Columns are sortable by clicking on arrow icon.

The table shows the rank of 16 selected MSA’s in 2001 and then compares those rankings with personal income levels in 2011. The biggest movers up the US rankings were Baton Rouge, LA, Columbus, GA, Panama City, FL and Pensacola, FL. For example, looking at the “US Rank Change” column, Baton Rouge’s PCPI improved 85 spots from 217 in 2001 to 132 in 2011. Only one of these cities was a home of a state capital.

The biggest movers down the US rankings were Raleigh, NC, Knoxville, TN, Columbia SC, and Tallahassee, FL. Despite Raleigh, NC’s big drop, they still remained in the top 100 in the United States. Of the four decliners, three were home to state capitals.

Based on this data, one could easily conclude that during the last decade it was not beneficial to be the home of a state capital. However, a closer look reveals that in 2001, all cities that were home to a state capital were in the top ten of the group rankings. In 2011, 4 state capital cities remained in the top 10, with Baton Rouge, LA being the biggest mover from number 10 in the “Group Rank” 2001 to number 5 in 2011.

The two state capital cities that fell from the top 10 were Columbia, SC and Tallahassee, FL. The decline in PCPI was not insignificant. The failure to keep pace with personal income over the last decade has resulted in billions of dollars in lost income. For example, in 2011 if Tallahassee had the PCPI of Baton Rouge, LA, a city it was ahead of in 2001, the additional annual personal income would have been approximately $1.5 billion.

Tallahassee Reports will continue to investigate why some cities with state capitals and top universities were able to maintain levels of personal income, and in the case of Baton Rouge improve its position, while Columbia, SC and Tallahassee, FL lost ground.

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