A good time to be an Iowan
Iowa has been making some intriguing headlines recently.
First, Des Moines was ranked No. 1 among U.S. cities with the highest real incomes by the U.S. News and World Report.
Then, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis showed Iowa's economy grew by 3.1 percent last year, compared to 2.6 percent national growth.
"Huh??" was the reaction of a friend from Des Moines as he posted the headline "U.S. News says Des Moines is richest metro area" on his Facebook wall.
The equation used to get the result took median household income and factored in the Cost of Living Index to calculate the adjusted median household income. With the fourth-best median household income on the list, at $56,576, and the second-best COLI, at 90.6, Des Moines' adjusted rate of $62,446 put it nearly $1,000 above the Washington, D.C. metro area average of $61,449.
Worcester, Mass., Houston and Ogden, Utah rounded out the top five. On the other end of the spectrum were the McAllen, Tex. area, $34,931; New York City, $35,370; and Modesto, Calif., $35,663.
These rankings show what most people already know: It's cheaper to live in Iowa than California, New York, etc. Nonetheless, it's a bit surprising to see Des Moines' adjusted income more than $27,000 higher than New York City's.
Yes, wages are higher in the Des Moines metro than in rural areas of the state. But, rural areas have even lower living costs.
Therefore, it's safe to say that most Iowans have it pretty good in comparison to many people in many other states.
BEA's report is further evidence of that. Iowa's Gross Domestic Product had the 13th highest increase in the nation. Manufacturing and finance and insurance were mostly responsible for the high placement, but wholesale and retail trade and real estate also contributed positively, while construction and government contributed negatively.
Most likely, next year's numbers will be even better.
The sun is shining and the economy is growing.
It's a good time to be an Iowan.