The latest available information about the income of taxpayers in each of the nation's 3,140-plus counties is available on TRAC's IRS Web Site. Included is information about the adjusted gross income (AGI), wages and salaries, interest income, income from dividends, rents and royalties, and the number of dependents claimed for the filing year 2007. The data allow the comparison of any county with the others in its state and in the nation as a whole. Special tables list the 50 top and 50 bottom counties.
Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) Filed in 2007
At $137,045, the taxpayers in Goochland County, Virginia reported the highest average AGI in the United States. This average was 13.8 times the $9,959 reported in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, the lowest in the country. Even excluding St. Bernard Parish as an outlier due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina, the average AGI for Goochland County was 7.8 times that of the next lowest county, which was Jackson County, South Dakota with an average AGI of $17,655.
In contrast, the spread between the highest and lowest counties in 2006 was not nearly as wide. In that year, the top county was Fairfield County, Connecticut, whose AGI of $112,908 was 5.3 times that of Hayes County, Nebraska, whose AGI of $21,302 was the lowest of any county in the nation.
The five counties reporting the highest average AGI in 2007 comprised the top five in 2006 as well. These counties were spread out geographically, with three located in two eastern states, and two in two western states. By comparison, in 2004, the top four counties were all in the east, with three of the top four counties in one state, New Jersey.
After Goochland County in Virginia, the next four wealthiest counties were Teton County, Wyoming ($126,998), Fairfield County, Connecticut ($117,425), Falls Church City, Virginia ($116,151) and Marin County, California ($116,094).
After St. Bernard Parish, the counties reporting the lowest average AGI were Jackson County, South Dakota ($17,655), Hayes County, Nebraska ($19,949), Buffalo County, South Dakota ($22,377), and Keya Paha County, Nebraska ($22,519).
Figures 1 and 2 illustrate the disparity in AGI between the richest and poorest counties since 1995. Figure 1 shows the difference between the highest and lowest counties for average AGI filed by taxpayers in 2007. Figure 2 shows the ratio of the highest to lowest average AGI, expressed as a percentage.
Wages and Salaries Filed in 2007
The difference in wages and salaries between the poorest and the richest counties widened slightly from the prior year. In 2006, the lowest was Petroleum County, Montana ($12,893) and the highest was Loudon County, Virginia ($80,122). In 2007, the lowest was Petroleum County, Montana ($13,671) and the highest was Hunterdon County, New Jersey ($84,091). This difference has increased by 4.7 percent, from $67,229 in 2006 up to $70,420 in 2007.
Figures 3 and 4 illustrate the disparity in wages and salaries between the richest and poorest counties since 1995. Figure 3 shows the difference between the highest and lowest counties for wages and salaries filed in 2007. Figure 4 shows the ratio of the highest to lowest wages and salaries, expressed as a percentage.
Exemptions Claimed in 2007
The exemptions claimed by a taxpayer is an indicator of the number of children in a household. This means a county claiming comparatively few exemptions is a place with a relatively large number of small families and a county with lots of exemptions is a place with a comparatively large number of large families.
The five counties with the fewest exemptions in the United States were New York County, New York (158 per 100 returns), Arlington County, Virginia (159 per 100 returns), Alexandria City, Virginia (161 per 100 returns), Pitkin County, Colorado (162 per 100 returns) and San Francisco County, California (163 per 100 returns).
Two counties from Utah, and one each from South Dakota, Idaho and Texas were in the top five for the number of exemptions claimed per 100 tax returns in 2007. They were Franklin County, Idaho and Shannon County, South Dakota (both with 288 per 100 returns), Juab County, Utah (284 per 100 returns), Utah County, Utah (281 per 100 returns) and Maverick County, Texas (280 per 100 returns).