The median household income in the Gadsden area dropped by about $4,500 between 2007 and 2011. Manufacturing is prominent in the region, with more than 17% of Gadsden residents in the labor force working in the industry. The proportion of people working in manufacturing was down from 22% back in 2007. The median home value in the area rose nearly 13% between 2010 and 2011, the fifth-largest growth percentage across all metro areas.
A stunning 11.8% of households in Albany earned less than $10,000 in 2011, the largest percentage of any metropolitan area in the nation. Additionally, 28.4% of Albany residents lived below the poverty level, a considerable increase from the 21.5% who lived in poverty in 2007. The area’s unemployment also jumped, doubling between 2007, when it was just 5.2% of the labor force, to 2011, when it was 10.4%. Last year, the median home value in Albany was just $103,800, or nearly $70,000 less than the U.S. median, while 18.9% of homes were worth less than $50,000.
From 2007 to 2011, the unemployment rate in Valdosta increased by 130%, from 4% of workers to 9.2%. The number of employed workers declined by more than 6,000 during that time. Those jobs remaining often pay a lower salary. Last year, nearly 17% of the workforce were employed in the generally low-paying retail industry, the sixth-highest percentage of all metro areas. In 2007, just 11.3% of the labor force worked in retail. Valdosta, however, has an improving and active housing market. Home prices rose nearly 12% between 2007 and 2011. Despite these positives, 14.4% of housing units were vacant last year, higher than the national vacancy rate of 13.1%. Also, 15.3% of homes were worth less than $50,000 versus 8.8% nationwide.
Brownsville, located in the very southern portion of Texas, has its fair share of economic woes. About 34% of households lived in poverty, the second-highest percentage of all metro areas, and 10.6% of all households earned less than $10,000 a year. More than a third of residents did not have health insurance in 2011, the third-highest rate in the country. Yet the region showed some signs of improvements. While still the second-lowest in the country, median home values rose more than 5% between 2010 and 2011 as values fell or remained nearly flat for the majority of metro areas.
Pct. households below poverty line: 37.7% (the highest)
While median income fell by $642 across the U.S. between 2010 and 2011, median income in the McAllen area fell by a whopping $3,653 over the same period. More than 37% of the population did not have health insurance, which was the highest percentage of all metro areas in the U.S. The median home value of $77,600, while up more than 11% since 2007, was still the second-lowest among all metro areas in the country. Nearly 29% of all homes were worth less than $50,000, the highest-rate of all metro areas.
The median home value in the Trenton metro area was $282,700. While this is more than $100,000 above the U.S. value, it is significantly less than many other rich metros such as San Jose, Washington D.C. and Boston. Yet some of the nine townships in Mercer County, which comprises most of the metro area, are very affluent. For instance, the median household income in the West Windsor township was $137,625 a year in 2010, while the median income in the Princeton township, as of 2010, was $107,071. The most notable employers in the region are Princeton University and NRG Energy, a utility company with over $8 billion in revenue.
Home prices in the Oxnard area, part of the Greater Los Angeles region, declined by more than 32% between 2007 and 2011, including a 5.5% dip between 2010 and 2011. Despite that, the median home value in the Oxnard area was $433,100, the eighth-highest among all metro areas. Furthermore, 6% of homes were worth at least $1 million, triple the U.S. rate. Renting is not particularly cheap either. The median monthly rent of $1,382 was the fourth-highest rent in the country and higher than the national median by more than $500.
In Bridgeport, 12% of the residents work in the finance and insurance industry, the third-highest percentage of all metro areas. The metropolitan area is home to numerous hedge funds, where executives can earn millions of dollars annually. Furthermore, many people who work on Wall Street also settle in western Connecticut. More than one in five households earned at least $200,000 in the area, the highest percentage of all metro areas in the country. Almost 14% of homes were worth at least $1 million as of 2011, the fourth highest percentage in the country.
The San Jose area is home to some of America’s top technology companies, which employ highly-compensated engineers and other technology professionals. More than 45% of adult residents had at least a college degree as of 2010, according to a recent study by the Brookings Institute, making San Jose the second-most educated metropolitan region in the country. The median home value as of 2011 was $618,000 and 18.7% of homes were worth at least $1 million, both the highest in the country. Despite having the second-largest median household income in 2011, the area’s unemployment rate of 9.9% was significantly higher than the national rate of 8.9% as California has suffered especially hard from the housing bust.
The Washington area is filled with tens of thousands of highly-skilled professionals in a host of different industries, from consulting to law to defense contracting. In fact, the Brookings Institute dubbed the area the most educated in the country because 46.8% of adult residents in 2010 had at least a college degree. The median home value in the area was more than double the national figure of $173,600, while 4.5% of homes were worth over $1 million, compared to 2% nationally. The median rent of $1,391 in Washington D.C. was higher than all but the San Jose and Honolulu metropolitan areas.