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County and metropolitan area personal income, 1981-83.

THIS article presents summary estimates of total and per capita personal income for 1981-83 for metropolitan areas and counties. Table 1 contains estimates for county-based metropolitan areas as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. These include Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Areas (CMSA's), which are large, complex areas that consist of two or more Primary Metropolitan Statistical Areas (PMSA's), and Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA's). The Metropolitan areas in New England are defined in terms of cities and towns rather than counties; the estimates presented here are for the alternative area definition--New England County Metropolitan Areas (NECMA's). Table 2 contains estimates for the 3,142 counties and county equivalents.

The 1983 estimates are presented for the first time. The 1981 and 1982 estimates are revised and supersede those presented in the April 1984 SURVEY. Estimates of personal income by type, including earnings by major industrial source, for 1987-83 for metropolitan areas and counties (as shown in table A) will be published in the nine-volume set Local Area Personal Income, scheduled for release by July 1985. Each volume of that set will include a detailed description of the sources and methods used to derive the estimates. For further information, write to the address which precedes table A.

In addition to the routine annual revisions made to the 1981-82 estimates, the local area estimates for 1978 and later years reflect three major revisions resulting from the use of more current census data. Revisions have been made to: (1) farm proprietors' income, based on gross income and expense data from the 1978 Census of Agriculture; (2) the net rental value of owner-occupied nonfarm dwellings (imputed rent), based on housing value data from the 1980 Census of Housing; and (3) the residence adjustment to labor income, based on place-of-residence wage and salary data from the 1980 Census of Population. The farm proprietors' income and imputed rent revisions will be extended to years prior to 1978 as part of the next set of comprehensive revisions to the national and regional personal income estimates. At the same time, new residence adjustment estimates will be introduced, based on 1980 census journey-to-work data.

Definition of total and per capita personal income

The personal income of an area is defined as the income received by, or on behalf of, all the residents of that area. It consists of the income received by persons from all sources: from participation in production, from transfer payments from government interest. Persons, in this definition, are individuals, nonprofit institutions, private noninsured welfare funds, and private trust funds. Personal income is measured as the sum of wage and salary disbursements, other labor income, proprietors' income with the inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments, personal dividend income, personal interest income, rental income of persons with capital consumption adjustment, and transfer payments, less personal contributions for social insurance.

The definitions underlying the local area estimates are essentially the same as those underlying the personal income estimates in the national income and product accounts. The major difference is the treatment of U.S. residents temporarily working abroad. The national estimates include Federal civilian and military personnel stationed abroad and U.S. residents who are employed by private U.S. firms and are on temporary foreign assignment. The local area estimates include only persons residing in the 50 States and the District of Columbia.

Per Capita personal income is computed by dividing the total personal income by population estimates provided by the Bureau of the Census. The population is measured as of July 1, except for the college student population, which is measured as of April 1.

The local area per capita personal income estimates should be used with caution for several reasons. In many instances, an unusually high or low per capita personal income is the temporary result of unusual conditions, such as a bumper crop or a tornado or flood. In other instances, the income levels of certain groups not typical of the resident population may cause a longer term high or low per capita personal income that is not indicative of the economic well-being of the area. For instance, a major construction project--such as a defense facility, nuclear power plant, or dam--may substantially raise the per capita personal income of an area for several years because these projects attract highly paid workers whose income is measured at the construction site. This high per capita income is not indicative of the econmic well-being of most of the residents of the area (or, in many cases, of the resident construction workers themselves, because they frequently send a substantial portion of their wages to deendents living in other areas).

Conversely, the presence of a large institutional population--such as that of college, prison, or State mental hospital--will tend to keep the per capita personal income of an area at a low level because the residents of these institutions have little income attributable to them at these institutions. This low per capita personal income is not indicative of the economic well-being of most residents of the area (or, in many cases, of the institutional populations, such as college students, typically receive support from their families living in other areas).

The per capita personal income estimates can also be misleading in areas where population is changing repidly. Population is measured at midyear, whereas income is measured as a flow over the year; therefore, a significant change in population during the year can cause a distortion in the per capita personal income estimates, particularly if the change occurs around midyear.

PERSONAL income by type of payment and earnings by major industry group, as shown in table A, are available for metropolitan areas and for counties for 1959, 1962, and 165-83. Similar estimates for 1929, 1940, and 1950 are available for metropolitan areas and nonmetropolitan counties only.

This information can be obtained for one or more counties or metropolitan areas from the Regional Economic Information System of the Regional Economic Measurement Division, Bureau of Economic Analysis. For computer printouts, there is a charge of $2 for each State, metropolitan area, or county table containing 6 consecutive years of estimates. However, charges will not exceed $500 for a complete set of metropolitan area tables and $1,500 for a complete set of State and county tables for the United States. The tables are also available (at lower cost) in microfiche and magnetic tape form. The minimum charge for each request is $5. Requests should be addressed to Regional Economic Information System, BE-55, Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230.
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Publication:Survey of Current Business
Date:Apr 1, 1985
Previous Article:Personal income and adjusted gross income 1981-83.
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