Michigan median household incomes grew by 1.7 percent, according to a release today by the U.S. Census Bureau. Adjusted for inflation, Michigan incomes fell by 2.4 percent. Overall, the national median household income decreased by 1.3 percent.

Unlike much economic news in the past decade, a number of other states are sharing in the downturn. Big states like Florida and California did especially poorly, pulling the national average down. Michigan ranked 47th in growth, beating Indiana, Montana and Florida. Twenty-seven states had lower real median household incomes than in the year before. 

A related measure, per capita personal income, has shown that Michigan is a relatively poor state, with incomes averaging 11.2 percent below the national average. Theoretically, the per capita personal income could be adjusted if Michigan’s wealthiest fared much worse than the typical Michigander. The new median household income shows that Michigan’s economic decline is broader than just the state’s rich. In 2005, Michigan was ranked 21st among the states. The new 2008 numbers places the state at 30th, with incomes 6.7 percent below the national average.

Also, the release demonstrated a slight advantage to right-to-work states. Without the inflation-adjustment, average growth in median household income in RTW states was 3.7 percent compared to 3.5 percent in non-RTW states. Six of the top ten states were RTW. The RTW dashboard is being updated.


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