Kingsport-Bristol sees most vigorous Tri-Cities high-income household growth during recovery

An earlier post that examined household income and benefits in the 2008-2014 recession recovery period illustrated how Kingsport-Bristol weathered the recession better than the Johnson City MSA.  A deeper dive into that data shows how the recovery is remodeling the two regions. It also illustrates the gap between some groups widened and how household wealth is becoming more concentrated.

household change


While the two income groupings of households that account for most Tri-Cities households decreased across the board, the decline in Kingsport-Bristol was larger. Those groups are the $50,000 to $74,999 group and $35,000 to $49,999.

The takeaway is before the recession those they accounted for most of the household in the Tri-Cities – an almost equal share in each MSA’s makeup. By 2014, it declined to a 33.9% share in Johnson City and 32% in Kingsport-Bristol.

There was also a realignment of the $15,000-$24,999 group. It accounts for the third largest number of households in the Tri-Cities. In the Johnson City MSA, it grew while it declined in Kingsport-Bristol.

2014 households


The more dramatic realignment comes among the top income households.

The realignment shows a more vigorous change in the favor of Kingsport-Bristol MSA.

Before the recession the total share of the top, four household income groups was divided almost evenly between the Johnson City MSA and Kingsport-Bristol. Johnson City claimed the biggest share in the $75,000 – $99,999 and $200,000 and above group. Kingsport-Bristol had a slightly larger share of $150,000 to $199,999 households and more $100,000 t0 $199,999 households.

2008 households


By 2014 Kingsport-Bristol had the highest share of all the high-income groups except $200,000 above, which contracted in the Johnson City MSA.

The bottom line is the two largest shares of households income groups shrank during the recovery while the high-income groups grew.

The overall effect of the realignment can also be seen in the median and mean household income change for the two MSAs.

The median household income for the Johnson City MSA in 2008 was $46,794. It was $38,813 in 2014. But the 2008 mean of $53,395 increased to $54,505.

Kingsport-Bristol median household income in 2008 was $39,081. It increased to $39,213 in 2014. The 2008 mean of $52,017 increased to $54,443.

The comparisons were made from the Income and Benefits Total Households DP03 section of the 2008 and 2014 1-year  American Community Survey. The income ranges for both years are inflation adjusted.



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