By the Numbers: Routt County residents and their money

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Like the rest of American households, a majority of us recently filed our annual federal tax returns. As data from these returns is collected and aggregated, it is possible to sort through the numbers and gain valuable insights into our combined personal income. This information is particularly helpful to identify trends and assess the local economy’s well-being.

The total adjusted gross income associated with working reported by Routt County residents in 2011 was about $800 million. This was distributed as follows by zip code:

Location, total AGI, average AGI, percentile nationally

■ Clark (80428), $15.5 million, $54,063, 76 percent

■ Hayden (81639), $49.3 million, $50,890, 72 percent

■ Oak Creek (80467), $37.4 million, $50,548, 71 percent

■ Phippsburg (80469), $5.2 million, $45,770, 60 percent

■ Steamboat Springs (80477, 80487, 80488), $680.1 million, $74,642, 91 percent

■ Yampa (80483), $11.1 million, $45,613, 60 percent

Source: Internal Revenue Service

Households in Routt County had an aggregate personal income of about $1.2 billion in 2011. The source of this income countywide was 70 percent from labor source (W2 wages and salaries, supplements to wages and salary and proprietors’ income) and 30 percent from nonlabor source income (dividends, interest, capital gains, Social Security, pensions, rent and royalties). Routt County consistently throughout the past 10 years has seen nonlabor source income grow. In 2002, the percentage split was about 80-20. Ten years later, that split is now 70-30.

Routt County aggregate personal income, 2002 to 2011

Another way to look at the county’s aggregate income is on a per capita basis. Per capita income is aggregate personal income divided by the resident population of the area. It is a useful calculation once adjusted for inflation to determine whether overall aggregate personal income countywide is rising or falling. It also is useful to contrast per capita income to the other counties in Colorado. This provides insights into what is occurring in Routt County compared with the rest of the state.

Per capita income adjusted for inflation and ranking compared with other Colorado counties:

Year, per capita income, rank

■ 1991, $35,007, 10

■ 2001, $46,314, 10

■ 2011, $51,628, 7

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Yet another level of analysis takes into account how this personal income is distributed. Of the about 10,000 households in Routt County, personal income at the household level was distributed as follows in 2011:

Distribution of Routt County’s 2011 personal income by household:

Income, percentage of households

■ Less than $25,000, 14 percent

■ $25,001 to $50,000, 22 percent

■ $50,001 to $100,000, 40 percent

■ $100,001 to $150,000, 15 percent

■ $150,001 to $200,000, 5 percent

■ More than $200,000, 4 percent

Source: U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey

Routt County did not escape the effects of the national economic downturn. For many households, the impact was severe. However, the data points to a local economy in transition that is relatively healthy. It also highlights that Routt County weathered the economic downturn better when compared with other counties in Colorado.

Scott L. Ford has lived in Steamboat Springs for 21 years and is the principal partner in The Pinnacle Economic Research Group. Ford can be reached at scottford@pinnacleeconomics.com.

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