In yet another sign of economic improvement, personal income for Napa County residents increased 5.1 percent in 2011, according to new statistics recently released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The per capita personal income rose to $51,253, up from revised amount of $48,765 in 2010. This is still below the peak of $51,712 in 2008.

“Things are getting better,” said Jordan G. Levine, director of economic research at Beacon Economics in Los Angeles.

“I interpret this as part of a broader trend we have been seeing across the state,” Levine said. “More folks are getting back to work. As the unemployment rate goes down we see per capita income rising. You don’t have as many folks with zero incomes.”

Per capita personal income is the total personal income of all residents, including retirees and children, divided by the total population. For example, if a married couple earns a total of $80,000 per year, each partner has a per capita income of $40,000. If that couple has two children, the family’s per capita incomes would each be $20,000.

Napa County personal income compares favorably to the rest of the state and country. In 2011, the state per capita personal income was as $43,647. In the U.S. it was $41,560, statistics show.

The county’s income also compares favorably to surrounding counties. From 2010 to 2011, the per capita personal income in Solano County increased 3.1 percent to $38,078 and in Sonoma County increased 4.7 percent to $45,331.

Because Napa County’s per capita income is higher, “That speaks to the quality of the jobs and demographics” of the county, Levine said. “It shows we are adding jobs of good quality.”

Consumer spending is a big part of our economy, the economist noted. “That is heavily impacted by incomes. If incomes rise, that means folks have more disposable income. If they have more income they have additional money to spend, which can lead to economic growth.”

In terms of quality of life, per capita incomes are generally used to measure how well-off a place is, Levine said. “Places with higher per capita incomes are usually associated with positive demographic characteristics like educational attainment, the quality of jobs that folks work in, and the structure of the economy in terms of who works in what sectors.”

The economist said that he expects to see per capita personal incomes rise in the area. “I feel pretty confident that Napa County will see solid income growth in 2012. Not huge growth, but it will continue that trend.”

(17) comments


If the jobs numbers were tallied the way they were in the 30's unemployment would be higher than any year of the great depression. Things are NOT getting better.


Could this also be because the poor are forced to move out of the county? That alone would raise the median income.


Bluecollardoctor nailed it. This is about demographic changes; Napa is one of those "bubble economies." It is a very well-known area that has been drawing many new-rich residents and visitors for years now, especially in the last 10 or so. It's hilarious (and predictable) to see the leftist posters attempt to tie this to Obama and his policies


It's good news but it is mostly due to unemployment going down. If you have a family with one parent employed and the other not, then the not gets a job, per capita income goes way up.

We are creating jobs is what it says. Per capita income also includes all investment income, and the market has done well this year.

Napa is interesting in that it has a lot of both wealthy and poor.


People with low or no income lost their homes and moved to a cheaper area. People with higher income bought those homes and moved in. So, how does this indicate economic growth?


ex-spurt, I guess your including the bush years?

glenroy the farm it's not even close to reality....much like the mythic unemployment numbers...

There hasn't been an honest study out the federal government in years.


Among the families I know $80K is a good family income. Everywhere I go I see families that are obviously not making that kind of money Nor are most senior citizens. Breaking it down to $20K per person, who in the world, and how many people, are maiking up the difference to have it be a median income be $80K? Not sure I believe the math used here.

Fact Check

I read this as the median income for a family of 4 to be over $200K. The 80K was just an example. The reported income per person is $51,253! How can that be when the NVR reported that over half of students in the NVUSD are considered socioeconomically disadvantaged?


The fact is Fact Check... from personal experience when studies are done they are usually farmed out to interns who just collect the data and willingly edit whatever it is that contradicts the desired result of the study.
35 years ago this modus was relatively it is exclusive among political internships which are overwhelming funded by or on behalf a public employee unions advocating for leftist causes.
We did the (phony) data used in the Boland Amendment.


Who's bush?


It's called inflation period.


The headline is misleading. Drilling down into this boring article reveals that a change in demographics could be responsible; more two income households, fewer dependent children etc. also this was 2010-2011 (two years ago) so its hard to count this as a leading indicator. There was also the temporary 2% payroll tax reduction which is almost certainly set to expire. If this is really the case, we need to be on the lookout for demand pull inflation. However, most people, myself included, have experienced 20% year over year reductions in income since 2008.


No doubt BCDR...


How could this be possible with Obama as President? The republicans must have pulled off some magic inspite of him, and without telling anyone just how magical they are.

Michael Butler

Nope, just shows what the private sector can do despite bad policies. Aren't you going to blame this on Bush too?

Didn't think so!

glenroy to give us your obama insight as to which of his policies helped our local economy? Who wrote the Bill?

This state is down over million of jobs since obama took office and those jobs aren't coming back.

If anything this increase represents a declining middle class not increase earners.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.