Gender pay gap narrows in Washington County; Household incomes see modest increase in Tri-Cities

Median household incomes in Sullivan and Washington counties didn’t see the big 2016 gains they enjoyed in 2015. They also lagged the 3.2% nation-wide gain. They were up. But it was a modest increase. And with one exception in four key wage indicators, trend lines arched lower.

Year-over-year median household income change.

The big salary takeaway from the just-released American Community Survey reports is the steady median wage increase and narrowing gender wage gap for women who work full-time in Washington County, They saw their best year-over-year gain in five years (18.2%) while the wage rate trend for men working full-time and all workers in that county moved lower.

Per capita income in both counties declined last year amid signs of broader wage stagnation. It was down 3.5% in Sullivan County and down 3.2% in Washington County. The decline in both counties was just south of $900 from 2015. It was $24,525 in Sullivan County and $26,340 in Washington County.

Year-over-year change for all workers and both males and females working full-time


Last year saw the Sullivan County median household increase $847 to $42,859 in 2016 inflation-adjusted dollars.

The increase in Washington County was $792 to $46,276.

Sullivan County’s median household wage has increased $8,269 since 2010 (23.9%) compared to a $4,063 (9.6%) gain in Washington County, but it’s been a much bumpier ride as illustrated by the median household income chart.

The household income gap between the two counties has been consistent for the past two years. In 2016, it was $3,417 higher in Washington and $3,472 the year before.

Year-over-year change for all workers and both male and females who work full-time.

Washington County saw increases in the share of households by income in six of the 10 ACS ranges, and the biggest gains were lower-income households. The county saw declines in the two lowest income ranges, but the biggest decline was in households with $50,000 to $74,999 incomes. There was also a loss in the $150,000 to $199,999 range.

Sullivan County saw its share of household by income decline in six ranges. The biggest decline came in $100,000 to $149,999 households. Its biggest gain came in the $75,000 to $99,999 income range.


The poverty rate for all people in Washington County was 14.5%, down 3.1% from the previous year. It was 16.2% in Sullivan County, up 0.4% from 2015.

The vertical black line marks the approximate MIT Living Wage benchmark for two-person households. CLICKING ON IMAGE RENDERS A LARGER FILE>

The family poverty rate in Sullivan increased 0.6% to 11.1% while it declined  1.4% to 10.8% in Washington County.

The share of two-person households below the 2016 MIT living wage level benchmark for Washington County was 37.9% and 40.6% in Sullivan County. The two-person household benchmark was used because it is the highest share of occupied households in Washington County almost the highest share in Sullivan. It was also the highest in owner-occupied households in both counties.


Sullivan County continued to lag its neighbor the south in the median wage for men and women working full-time and for all workers. And male-full time workers in both counties saw a wage drop from 2015.

The median for women working full-time in Washington County was $5,428 higher in 2016; $3,803 higher for men working full-time and $320 for all workers.

The black vertical line marks the approximate MIT Living Wage benchmark. CLICKING ON IMAGE RENDERS A LARGER FILE.

The 2016 medians and compared to 2015 for are:

Sullivan workers – $25,932, down 2.2%.

Washington workers – $25,308, up 1.4$.

Sullivan full-time women workers – $31,054, down 0.6%.

Washington full-time women workers – $36,482, up 18.2%.

Sullivan full-time male workers – $41,622, down 5.6%.

Washington full-time male workers – $45,425, 2.5%.


Full-time male workers still make more money than females, but the gap is closing as women increase their position in the labor force with larger numbers and an increasingly higher education level on their resumes.

Last year a woman working full-time in Washington County earned $8,943 less than her male counterpart.  It was the lowest gap since 2010 and a big gain from the $15,718 gap in 2015.

The 2016 gap in Sullivan County was $10,568. It was the lowest in three years and a $2,200 improvement from 2015.