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U.Va.’s Cooper Center Report Shows Lower Real Income for Married Couples
Income Declined In 2001 After Adjustment For Inflation

February 11, 2004 -- A rising tide of prosperity for married couples in Virginia ended in 2001, according to a new study of state tax data by the University of Virginia's Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.

The median adjusted gross income for married couples rose from $56,530 in 2000 to $57,619 in 2001, but the growth rate of 1.9 percent failed to keep pace with an annual inflation rate of 2.8 percent, the study showed. In constant dollars, the median adjusted gross income fell by 0.9 percent in 2001, the first year of loss after six straight years of gains, according to the report co-written by economist John L. Knapp and research specialist Stephen C. Kulp.

In 2001 the five localities with the highest couples' median incomes all were in Northern Virginia: Loudoun County ($80,759), Fairfax County ($78,927), Falls Church City ($78,654), Arlington ($76,566) and the City of Alexandria ($75,145). Metropolitan Northern Virginia accounted for a significant portion of the state’s total income — 42 percent of Virginians' total adjusted gross income in 2001 — up from 36 percent a decade earlier.

Four of the five localities with the lowest median couples' incomes are counties in Southwest Virginia: Lee ($27,971), Buchanan ($30,676), Grayson ($31,193), and Dickinson ($31,355). The other, Highland County ($31,250), is situated in the Alleghany Highlands. About 25 percent of the couples in these five counties reported incomes of less than $15,000, well below the 2001 federal poverty level of $17,960 for a couple with two children.

The U.Va. study includes an index of income concentration, which estimates statewide income inequality. After rising for nine years, showing increasing inequality, the index dropped in 2000 and in 2001.

“The main reason for the drop was the reversal of fortune for persons who had previously benefited from the stock market boom,” said Knapp, director of business and economics research at the Cooper Center.

The index of income concentration fell by 2.4 percent from 2000 to 2001. The localities with the highest disparities in incomes between the low and high-income taxpayers in 2001 were Goochland County, Williamsburg City, Richmond City, Lancaster County and Charlottesville City.

The complete report, "Virginia Adjusted Gross Income, 2001," is available on the Web at:
Detailed tables showing information for each city, county, planning district, and metropolitan area are available at:
For more information, call John Knapp at (434) 982-5638.

Contact: Charlotte Crystal, (434) 924-6858

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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