Friday, September 8, 2017

A Closer Look At Oregon’s Median Household Income

Measuring household income isn’t easy. Oregon has only one true median household income, which is unknown, but there are multiple ways to estimate it. Looking at median income instead of average (mean) income is helpful because the measure is less affected by households with extremely high incomes. Income distributions are skewed because they are bound by zero on the low end and essentially unbounded at the high end. The median is a better measure of center in such cases.
Median income is the point where half the households earn more and half earn less. If you lined every household up from lowest income to highest income, the median would be the income of the household that’s smack in the center.

There are 1,533,430 households in Oregon with an average size of 2.5 people. That’s about a foot smaller than the U.S. average household size of 2.6 people.A household is all the people who occupy a housing unit, such as a house, an apartment, a mobile home, a group of rooms, or a single room that is a separate living quarters. A household can consist of a single family, a person living alone, two or more families living together, or any other group of people who share living arrangements.

Income is the money received on a regular basis in the previous year or past 12 months by household members ages 15 years and over. This is before personal income taxes, social security, union dues, and Medicare deductions are removed. It does not include noncash benefits such as food stamps, health benefits, subsidized housing, or goods produced and consumed on the farm.
Oregon’s median household income has been very close to the U.S. over the past 30 years. There hasn’t been a statistical difference between Oregon and U.S. household incomes in most years. However, Oregon’s job growth has been stronger than the U.S. since 2013, and the average hourly real wage started rising in 2015. The better job market helped propel Oregon’s median household income to $59,888 in 2014-2015, higher than the U.S. median household income of $55,117.

Learn more about other measures of median income in the article written by State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks.

No comments: