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Married Couples’ Adjusted Gross Income In Virginia Is Sliding

September 20, 2004 -- The ebb in the fortunes of married couples in Virginia that began in 2001 continued through 2002, 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 only slightly in current dollars, from $57,619 in 2001 to $57,924 in 2002, a rise of 0.5 percent. When adjusted for the 1.6 percent inflation rate in 2002, the median adjusted gross income fell by 1 percent, decreasing for the second straight year, according to the report co-written by senior economist John L. Knapp and research specialist Stephen C. Kulp.

In 2002 the five localities with the highest median incomes of married couples all were in Northern Virginia: Loudoun County ($80,436), Fairfax County ($78,606), Falls Church City ($78,502), Arlington County ($76,660), and Stafford County ($75,287). Northern Virginia accounted for a significant portion of the state’s total income – 42 percent of Virginians' total adjusted gross income in 2002 – up from 36 percent a decade earlier.

The five localities with the lowest incomes of married couples in 2002 were all counties in Southwest Virginia: Lee ($29,147), Buchanan ($30,403), Grayson ($30,781), Dickinson ($31,270), and Russell ($31,431). About 25 percent of the couples in these five counties reported incomes of less than $15,000, a figure barely higher than the 2002 federal poverty level of $14,480 for a couple with one child.

The U.Va. study includes an index of income concentration, which estimates statewide income inequality. The index is constructed so the greater the degree of inequality, the higher the index. After decreases in the previous two years, the index rose slightly last year, by 0.2 percent.

The Virginia localities with the highest disparities in incomes between low- and high-income taxpayers in 2002 were Goochland County, Williamsburg City, Richmond City, Lancaster County, and Charlottesville City.

The complete report, "Spotlight on Virginia: Virginia Adjusted Gross Income, 2002," which includes a table showing median married couple AGI and the ranking of each city and county, is available on the Web at:
http://www.coopercenter.org/econ/VASTAT/income.php.

Detailed tables showing information for each city, county, planning district, and metropolitan area are available at: http://www.virginia.edu/coopercenter/vastat/income/income.html.

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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