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County and metropolitan area personal income, 1985-87.

Revision Schedule for Regional Estimates

The annual estimates of State and local area personal income for a given year are subject to successive refinement. Preliminary State estimates, based on the current quarterly series, are released 4 months after the close of the refernce year published in April SURVEY OF CURRENT BUSINESS. In the August SURVEY, more reliable annual estimates am published These estimates are developed independently of the quarterly series and are prepared in greater component detail, primarily from Federal and State govemment administrative records. The annual estimates published in the August SURVEY are subsequently refined to incorporate newly available information used to prepare the current local area estimates. These revised State estimates are published in the following April SURVEY, together with the current local area estimates. The annual estimates emerging from this three-step process are subject to further revision for several succeeding years (the State estimates in April and August and the local area estimates in April), as additional data become available. The routine revisions of the local area estimates for a given year are normally completed with the third April release. After that, the estimates will be changed only to incorporate a comprehensive revision of the national income and product accounts-which takes place approximately every 5 years-or to make important improvements to the estimates through the use of additional or more current State and local area data.

THIS article presents summary estimates of total and per capita personal income for 1985-87 for metropolitan areas and counties. Table 1 contains estimates for county-based metropolitan areas as defined for statistical purposes by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. These areas include consolidated metropolitan statistical areas (CMSA's)-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 3,105 counties and county equivalents. The smaller independent cities of Virginia are combined with adjacent counties in these estimates.

The 1987 estimates are presented for the first time. The 1985 and 1986 estimates are revised and supersede those presented in the April 1988 SURVEY OF CURRENT BUSINESS. The local area estimates for 1969-87 reflect the December 1985 revision of the national income and product accounts (NIPA's), which was extended to the local area personal income series in April 1988 (see the April 1988 SURVEY for a description of the major changes in sources and methods at the local area level). The estimates for 1982-87, including income by major type and labor and proprietors' earnings by Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) industry division, will be presented in the forthcoming five-volume set Local Area Personal Income, 1982-87. A detailed description of the sources and methods used to derive the estimates will be included in each volume. The full set of estimates for 1969-87, in greater industrial detail, is available in several forms from BEA's Regional Economic Information System, as explained on page 41.

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 the area. It consists of the income received by persons from all sources-that is, from participation in production, from both government and business transfer payments, and from government interest. Personal income is measured as the sum of wage and salary disbursements, other labor income, proprietors' income, rental income of persons, personal dividend income, personal interest income, and transfer payments, less personal contributions for social insurance.

In the national and regional economic accounts, persons are defined as individuals, nonprofit institutions serving individuals, private noninsured welfare funds, and private trust funds.

The definitions underlying the local area estimates of personal income are essentially the same as those underlying the personal income estimates in the NIPA's. The major difference is that the national estimates include the labor earnings of residents of the United States temporarily working abroad (mainly Federal civilian and military personnel), whereas the local area estimates include only the income of persons residing in the 50 States and the District of Columbia. Specifically, the national personal income estimates include the income of Federal civilian and military personnel stationed abroad and of U.S. residents who are employed by U.S. firms and are on temporary foreign assignment. An "overseas" adjustment is made to the national estimates to exclude the labor earnings of these workers from the U.S. totals before the totals are extended to the State and local area levels.

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 some instances, an unusually high or low per capita personal incomeis the temporary result of unusual conditions, such as a bumper crop or a hurricane. In other instances, the income levels of certain groups atypical of the resident population may cause a longer term high or low per capita personal income that is not indicative of the economic weH-being of the area. For instance, a major construction project-such as a defense facility, 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 economic weH-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 dependents living in other areas).

Conversely, the presence of a large institutional population-such as that of a college or prison-will tend to keep the per capita personal income of an area at a lower level because the residents of these institutions have little income attributable to them at these institutions. This lower per capita personal income is not indicative of the economic well-being of most of the residents of the area (or, in some cases, of the institutional populations, because some of these 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 rapidly. 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.


The revised estimates of local area personal income were prepared by the Regional Economic Measurement Division under the direction of Linnea Hazen, Chief. The estimates were the result of a divisionwide effort.

Estimates of labor income (wages and salaries and other labor income) were prepared by the Regional Wage Branch under the supervision of Carol E. Evans, Chief Major responsibilities were assigned to Sharon C. Carnevale, C. Brian Grove, Michael G. Pilot, and James M. Scott. Contributing staff members include E. Frances Bake, Elizabeth P. Cologer, Susan P. Den Herder, Eddie L. Key, Russell C. Lusher, Richard A. Lutyk, Elizabeth A. Mack, Lisa C. Ninomiya, Adrienne T. Pilot, William E. Reid, Jr., John A. Rusinko, Victor A. Sahadachny, and Jaime Zenzano.

Estimates of dividends, interest, rent, transfer payments, personal contributions for social insurance, tax and nontax payments, and the residence adjustments were prepared by the Quarterly Income Branch under the supervision of Robert L. Brown, Chief Contributing staff members include John M. Reed, Albert Silverman, James P. Stehle, Isabelle B. Whiston, Ellen M. Wright, Daniel Zabronsky, and Malianne A. Ziver.

Estimates of proprietors' income were prepared by the Proprietors' Income Branch under the supervision of Bruce Levine, Chief Major responsibilities were assigned to Charles A. Jolley and James M. Zavrel. Contributing staff members include Elaine M. Briccetti, Daniel R. Corrin, Kirk Fox, Richard H. Grayson, and Toui C. Pomsouvan.

The assembly of public use tabulations and data files and the preparation of the text and tables for this article were performed by the Regional Economic Information System Branch. Major responsibilities were assigned to Kathy A. Albetski, Wallace K. Bailey, Kenneth P. Berkman, and Gary V. Kennedy. Secretarial support was provided by Hilda G. Tolson. Contributing staff members include Eairla A. Hawkins, Louise T. Johnson, Susan J. Lease-Trevathan, Lela S. Lester, Jeffrey L. Newman, Michael J. Paris, Darlene C. Robinson, Elizabeth R. Self, and Mary C. Williams.
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Publication:Survey of Current Business
Date:Apr 1, 1989
Previous Article:Growth in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas: an update.
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