NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

State Reports on Median Income for 2003

The statewide median income on all returns was $32,242, an increase of 1.6 percent over 2002's median income amount. For joint returns, the statewide median income was $58,653, a gain of 1.1 percent from 2002. Full details here.

"Median income" is the point where one-half of the tax returns are above and one-half are below the midpoint of the range of values. Median income represents the income reported by a typical California person or couple.

Marin County recorded the highest median income for joint returns, reporting $94,410, an increase of more than 2.1 percent over 2002. San Mateo County ranked second with $81,621, while Santa Clara County ranked third with $81,233 and Contra Costa County ranked fourth with $78,366.

Nevada County ranked twenty first (21st) with a median income of $32,682 for all returns, $45,793 for joint returns. We were about at the state median for all retruns, but $12,860 below for joint returns. I wonder about the significance of the lower joint return income? Any ideas?

Los Angeles County taxpayers filed 25.8 percent of all 2003 income tax returns in California. They reported median incomes of $27,746 for all returns, and $49,701 for joint returns, ranking 40th and 33rd, respectively.

Remember that Median is not the average. As shown in the LA case, a plethora of low income families can drive down the median.

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