Study indicates rise in Kansans? personal income during the 1990s

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BY PAT MELGARES – KSU
A study from Kansas State University shows that among Kansans? total personal income increased by 45 percent from 1991 to 1998, before adjusting for inflation.



Economist David Darling called the data ?a positive sign of economic growth in the state. This is one measure that all economic development professionals should be monitoring.?



Darling noted ?a tremendous variation between Kansas counties. Among Wichita County residents? income increased by 90 percent between 1991 and 1998, compared to an 8.3 percent drop for Decatur County residents.



Darling used data from the Governor?s Economic and Demographic Report.



?It is important to be proactive when considering economic development,? said Darling, a community development economist with K-State Research and Extension. ?Having a vision and plan to realize the vision is part of a good strategic plan.?



He added that community leaders must decide who economic development is targeted to help, and what broad goals economic development is designed to achieve.



Statewide, total personal income increased $20.3 billion between 1991 and 1998, before adjusting for inflation.



Of the state?s 105 counties, 31 realized total income increases of 45 percent or better. The state average was 44.7 percent.



Counties in which residents experienced the highest increases in personal income include Wichita (90 percent), Butler (84 percent), Meade (81 percent), Harvey (79 percent), Douglas (75 percent), Wallace (73 percent), Jefferson (67 percent), Woodson (66 percent), Elk (65 percent), and Ellis (64 percent).



Marion County experienced an increase in real per capital income of 6.1 percent between 1990 to 1996, from $14,035 to $14,890.



According to Darling, ?a significant portion? of four counties?Jefferson, Butler, Elk and Harvey counties?act as ?bedroom communities? to nearby job centers. In other words, residents commute to neighboring counties for work, but bring their paychecks back home.



Counties in which resident? personal income decreased the most were Decatur (8.3 percent), Scott (7.4 percent) and Gove (1.1 percent). According to census figures, each of those county?s population also decreased by 14.1, 5.1, and 5.5 percent, respectively, from 1990 to 1998.

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