A publication of the Indiana Business Research Center at IU's Kelley School of Business
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Indiana Personal Income: The Recession Experience

How did per capita personal income (PCPI) change in Indiana counties during the recession?

First, let's get our bearings. Statewide, Indiana's PCPI stands at $34,022 as of 2009, the most current year available for county data. The counties with the five highest PCPIs in the state span the state from north (Porter), to central (Boone and Hamilton) to south (Dubois and Warrick). Boone County leads the way, with a PCPI of $48,870. An increase of 0.2 percent between 2007 and 2009 was enough for seventh place Warrick County to surpass Hancock and Floyd counties for a spot in the top five. Table 1 provides details on these top five counties.

Table 1: Counties with the Highest PCPIs in 2009

County 2009 2007 Numeric Change Percent Change
Boone $48,870 $51,557 -$2,687 -5.2
Hamilton 45,556 49,038 -3,482 -7.1
Porter 41,110 41,981 -871 -2.1
Dubois 39,620 40,942 -1,322 -3.2
Warrick 39,237 39,163 74 0.2

Note: Values adjusted for inflation to 2009 dollars.
Source: IBRC, using Bureau of Economic Analysis data

At the other end of the spectrum, LaGrange County has the lowest PCPI in the state at $21,544, with Starke ($24,640), Miami ($25,934), Adams ($26,573) and Crawford ($26,932) counties rounding out the bottom five.

Before the recession, 19 counties had a PCPI higher than the Indiana average, and by 2009 that number grew to 23 of our 92 counties. Far fewer counties had a PCPI at or above that of the United States, with 5 counties in 2007 but only 3 counties by 2009 (see Table 2).

Table 2: Indiana Counties Relative to State and U.S. PCPI, 2007-2009

2007 2008 2009
Indiana PCPI $34,996 $34,889 $34,022
    Counties at or above Indiana PCPI 19 21 23
U.S. PCPI $40,830 $40,529 $39,635
    Counties at or above U.S. PCPI 5 5 3

Note: Values adjusted for inflation to 2009 dollars.
Source: IBRC, using Bureau of Economic Analysis data

After adjusting for inflation, 32 counties experienced increases in PCPI between 2007 and 2009 (see Figure 1). Eight counties had increases greater than $1,000, with Benton County at the top, gaining $3,446 over the recession period (or 10.1 percent).

Meanwhile, 25 counties had declines greater than $1,000, with the largest drop experienced in Elkhart with a $4,489 decline (or -13 percent).

Figure 1: Change in PCPI, 2007-2009

Top 10 Overall Tax Exemption and Deduction Payouts in Indiana, 2007

Note: Values adjusted for inflation to 2009 dollars.
Source: IBRC, using Bureau of Economic Analysis data

When considering percent changes, three counties had increases greater than 5 percent (Knox, Crawford and Benton), while 12 counties had losses exceeding 5 percent (see Table 3).

Table 3: Counties with PCPI Declines Exceeding 5 Percent, 2007-2009

Area 2009 2007 Numeric Change Percent Change
Elkhart $30,064 $34,553 -$4,489 -13.0
LaGrange 21,544 24,199 -2,655 -11.0
Adams 26,573 29,013 -2,440 -8.4
Howard 31,149 33,922 -2,773 -8.2
Hancock 38,606 41,882 -3,276 -7.8
Hamilton 45,556 49,038 -3,482 -7.1
Marshall 28,335 30,260 -1,925 -6.4
Tipton 34,432 36,529 -2,097 -5.7
Kosciusko 34,032 36,057 -2,025 -5.6
Brown 35,065 37,151 -2,086 -5.6
Boone 48,870 51,557 -2,687 -5.2
Floyd 37,733 39,795 -2,062 -5.2

Note: Values adjusted for inflation to 2009 dollars.
Source: IBRC, using Bureau of Economic Analysis data

These data illustrate that, while Indiana's PCPI only dropped 2.8 percent during the 2007-2009 time frame of the Great Recession, the impacts felt at the county level varied significantly. One-third of our counties experienced per capita income increases during the recession, even though the gains in these counties were not enough to offset deeper losses elsewhere. To dig further into these data, view the Income Topic Page on STATS Indiana.

Rachel Justis
Geodemographic Analyst, Indiana Business Research Center, Indiana University Kelley School of Business