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Cities Where Incomes Are Shrinking — And Growing — The Fastest

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Roughly half of all Americans live in the middle class, according to a 2016 study by the Pew Research Center. But the term “middle income” varies drastically depending on where you live. A good median household income can be mitigated by factors like home prices, high living costs and taxes. In some booming areas of the country, incomes are rising faster — sometimes much faster — than costs. In others, however, slow — or even negative — income growth drags down the entire region.

GOBankingRates analyzed year-to-year income changes from 2010 through 2015 for America’s 200 largest metro areas, based on data from the Census Bureau. We identified the 20 metro areas where incomes have increased the most, and the 20 areas where incomes have increased the least. Click through to discover where incomes are rising the fastest and slowest, and see if you live in a high-income area.

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Metro Areas Where Incomes Are Growing Slowly or Shrinking

In the following 20 regions, personal income is barely chugging along or, in the worst cases, declining. Although it seems counterintuitive, the list contains some high-income cities.

Don’t Miss: States Most Likely to Live Paycheck to Paycheck

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20. Davenport, Iowa, Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 4.66 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $45,033

Incomes are rising slowly in the Davenport region of Iowa, where the median hourly wage is $16.66, compared to $17.81 in the nation as a whole. Year over year, residents only saw their wages increase by an average of 0.93 percent between 2010 and 2015. Luckily, the cost of living in the Davenport area is even lower than Iowa as a whole.

Unemployment sits at a relatively high 6 percent, and job growth stands at an unimpressive -0.2 percent. The good news is that the cost of living in the region is 14.6 percent below the national average.

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19. Albuquerque, N.M., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 4.54 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $36,321

Incomes in the Albuquerque region ticked up just an average of 0.94 percent per year for the five years ending in 2015. The median hourly wage is $16.40, which is below the national average. The national average unemployment rate is 4.4 percent, but in the Albuquerque area, the jobless rate stands more than two full points higher at 6.1 percent.

One good thing about Albuquerque: It’s one of the best places to live in the country on only a Social Security check.

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18. Mobile, Ala., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 4.01 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $38,981

With an income increase of just 4.01 percent over five years, residents of the Mobile region have struggled with an average year-over-year growth of just 0.81 percentage points. The average hourly wage in the area is just $16.21 per hour.

At 6.8 percent, unemployment is high, and fewer than one in four residents have attended college. Although home values are rising, the median home price is still just $133,600 — which is significantly lower than the national median of $201,900.

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17. Lafayette, La., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 3.93 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $44,255

The $44,255 real personal income in the Lafayette region is the result of average year-over-year growth of just 0.86 percentage points, which puts the area among just 17 metropolitan regions in the country that witnessed growth of less than 4 percent. The good news is the median hourly wage of $18.92 is more than $1 more than the national median hourly wage.

The region supports 277,000 jobs across 18,000 businesses. The Montgomery Advertiser recently reported that officials expect slow growth to continue to plague the entire state for the foreseeable future thanks to China’s advances in manufacturing. Manufacturing is Lafayette’s third-biggest industry, representing 27,676 jobs.

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16. Tallahassee, Fla., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 3.83 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $42,389

Tallahassee is one of the cheapest places to rent in the U.S. — which is great for residents who aren’t experiencing rising incomes. Year-over-year income in the area grew at an average of just 0.82 percentage points. And, the region’s median hourly wage is $16.62, which is lower than the U.S. average.

In 2012, Tallahassee began a major slide in the rankings released by the Milken Institute, a benchmark indicator of economic health in large cities. The Tallahassee Democrat recently reported that economists want to see the region create jobs and expand beyond its status as a “government town” that relies on taxing industries in the rest of the state.

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15. Palm Bay, Fla., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 3.78 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $42,792

Income among residents of the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville region of Florida grew by an average rate of just 0.77 percentage points year over year. The median hourly wage is comparatively low $16.16.

Women who work full time in the region earn nearly $14,000 less per year than their male counterparts, and the largest segment of the workforce, 17.9 percent, earn between $20,000 and $30,000 a year. The next largest group of earners — 17.5 percent — makes between $10,000 and $20,000. The third-largest income demographic is the 14.6 percent of earners who make between $30,000 and $40,000.

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14. Binghamton, N.Y., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 3.7 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $38,327

In the Binghamton area of western upstate New York, income levels have increased by an average of just 0.74 percentage points year over year. Hourly workers earn a relatively low wage of $16.19.

Although the Binghamton area is one of the few regions in the state outside of New York City that is experiencing an increase in economic output, none of the 57 non-New York City counties have fully recovered from their pre-recession employment rates, according to a state jobs report.

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13. Lakeland, Fla., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 3.66 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $29,106

Financial data service Moody’s Reporting considers the Lakeland-Winter Haven area to be experiencing a cycle of recovery, which is a designation above “at risk” and below “expansion.” The region, according to Moody’s, suffers from subpar education levels and too few tech jobs, below-average income and a volatile employment market.

The area benefits, however, from strong transportation and tourism hubs, impressive population growth and the fact that the region is a popular place to retire. Incomes there have increased an average of just 0.74 percentage points year over year, and hourly workers earn a low median wage of $15.13.

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12. McAllen, Texas, Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 3.62 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $38,005

The unemployment rate is 7.8 percent in the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission region, and just 17.3 percent of the population is college educated. The area experienced weak average year-over-year income growth of just 0.73 percentage points, and the median wage worker there earns a paltry $11.88 an hour — the lowest hourly wage by far of any city on this list.

The region was a significant contributor to the agriculture and petroleum sectors before the North American Free Trade Agreement designated the area a foreign trade zone. Now because of NAFTA, and the region’s proximity to the Mexican border, the metro area shifted its economic focus to international trade and distribution.

Some more bad news for homeowners in McAllen: The city is one of just nine across the country where home prices are plummeting, falling $15,000 between April 2016 and April 2017.

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11. Huntsville, Ala., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 3.37 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $38,372

With average year-over-year income growth of just 0.68 percentage points, the Huntsville area is one of 11 metro regions that experienced average annual income growth of less than 0.7 percent. Workers there are paid a median hourly rate of $18.31, which is higher than the $17.81 median national hourly wage.

The largest municipality in North Alabama, Huntsville is split between Madison and Limestone counties. The region has one big claim to fame — it has been the state’s fastest-growing major city for 15 years. By 2020 it is expected to have a population of 200,000. And by 2022, Huntsville proper is expected to overtake Birmingham as the most populous city in Alabama.

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10. Fayetteville, N.C., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 3.25 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $38,431

Fayetteville is, first and foremost, a military town. The city and surrounding region is home to Pope Air Force Base and Fort Bragg. Although lower than the median national home price of $201,900, houses in the Fayetteville region aren’t cheap. The median home value is $176,600.

About a quarter of the population has gone to college, and the cost of living is 6.3 percent lower than the national average. Residents have experienced sluggish year-over-year average income growth of 0.66 percentage points, and wage workers earn a median rate of $15.35 an hour.

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9. Tampa, Fla., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 2.52 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $37,113

One of just nine metro regions in the country to experience income growth below 3 percent between 2010 and 2015, pay in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater region grew by an average of just 0.56 percentage points year over year. Median hourly wages sit at a relatively low $16.38.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the region specifically and Florida, in general, are at risk of a recession, with too many local banks competing for too few small business loans. Low consumer confidence and diminished restaurant receipts are also plaguing the local economy.

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8. Columbus, Ga., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 2.31 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $37,426

Residents of the Columbus region in Alabama and Georgia realized year-over-year average income growth of just half a percentage point. Hourly workers earn a median wage of just $15.01, which is well below the national median.

The Ledger-Enquirer reported in 2016 that recent Army cuts have not been kind to the military-heavy area, with 2,000 soldiers departing nearby Fort Benning. This resulted in an additional 1,000 lost jobs in local businesses. The region is 12 percent more dependent on leisure and hospitality than the nation as a whole — and now there are thousands of soldiers who won’t be spending money in local establishments.

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7. York, Pa., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 1.76 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $37,333

Although hourly wage workers in the York-Hanover region earn a median rate of $16.88 an hour, residents saw their income rise by an average of just 0.37 percentage points year over year for the last five years. The York Daily Record reported in 2016 that rents in the area are rising at a very inopportune time — just as wages are falling and more and more residents are living in poverty.

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6. Olympia, Wash., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 1.74 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $45,904

Housing prices are rising faster in the state of Washington than in any other state in the country — and the Olympia-Tumwater region is no exception. Incomes, however, are not keeping pace. Although personal income is a relatively high $45,904 and median hourly rates are well above the rest of the country at $19.79, pay has risen an average of just 0.36 percentage points year over year.

There might, however, be plenty of light at the end of the tunnel for workers there. Job growth is expected to rise by 38.87 percent over the next 10 years, according to Sperling’s Best Places. One advantage of the Olympia area: It’s an affordable city for those not ready to live a retiree lifestyle.

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5. Killeen, Texas, Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 0.9 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $37,939

Residents of the Killeen-Temple region saw their incomes rise by less than a single percent over the last five years, for average year-over-year growth of just 0.22 percentage points. Hourly workers earn less than the rest of the nation with a median wage of $15.72.

Less than a quarter of the population is college educated, and the cost of living is 3.3 percent below the national average. Housing prices, however, are dramatically low. The median home value there is just $119,700.

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4. Kennewick, Wash., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: -1.55 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $47,062

Personal income is relatively high in the Kennewick-Richland area, as is the $18.81 median hourly wage. The region is, however, one of just four metropolitan areas that saw incomes drop over the last five years. In fact, earnings fell by an average of -0.24 percentage points year over year.

That, however, appears poised to change. According to the Tri-City Herald, the region boasted the fastest-growing job market in 2016, and a powerful agricultural sector is ensuring the upward trend will continue.

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3. Clarksville, Tenn., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: -1.81 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $38,885

The Clarksville region in Tennessee and Kentucky is home to Fort Campbell, which houses the 101st Airborne Division, and the military plays a major role in the region’s culture and economy. The area’s major industries are healthcare and, not surprisingly, defense.

The last few years have not been kind to the region. Clarksville ranked among just four metropolitan centers that suffered negative income growth. Earnings dropped an average of -0.31 percentage points year over year, and the median hourly wage is a low $14.65. Another downside of the Clarksville area: It might be in a real estate bubble.

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2. Gulfport, Miss., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: -2.25 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $40,057

Unfortunately for the rest of Mississippi, the slow economic growth in the Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula area is actually the best in the state, even as incomes dropped more than they have in all but one other metro region in the country.

Coastal Mississippi has been hit hard in recent years — and decades — by a series of hurricanes that battered the region and contributed to a dramatic decline in population, which has finally rebounded. Tourism is one of the region’s biggest drivers, and it never fully recovered from Hurricane Katrina. The manufacturing sector has also declined dramatically.

In all, income dropped an average of -0.45 percentage points over the last five years and hourly workers earn a median rate of $16.03 per hour.

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1. Bridgeport, Conn., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: -5.23 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $81,225

In 2014, Business Insider called the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk area “the most unequal place in America.”

Three years later, stark income inequality is still the defining characteristic of the region and the state of Connecticut as a whole. The top 1 percent in the state gobbled up a full 85.1 percent of all income growth, a statistic that is mirrored in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk region. That’s why even though the area has suffered a more than 5 percent loss of income for an average year-over-year loss of -1.02 percentage points, it’s the highest median income city on the list at $81,225 and the median hourly wage is a high $23.11.

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Metro Areas Where Incomes Are Growing Fast

In these 20 regions of the country, incomes have risen sharply in the past five years, with the fastest-growing areas experiencing massive year-over-year increases in earnings.

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20. Salt Lake City Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 14.53 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $44,036

With a low unemployment rate of 3.8 percent, Salt Lake City is a great place to earn a living. Incomes have increased an average of 2.77 percentage points year over year between 2010 and 2015 for a healthy 14.53 overall growth. Even better, job growth is expected to increase by more than 40 percent over the next decade.

In 2016, the state of Utah led the nation in personal income growth. Hourly workers earn a median rate of $17.89, which is slightly better than the national median rate of $17.81.

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19. Naples, Fla., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 14.96 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $46,947

Hourly workers in the Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island region earn a median rate of just $15.95 per hour. That’s low compared to the national median, but residents enjoyed income growth of an average of 2.9 percentage points year over year between 2010 and 2015.

Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island is second to only Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn., in terms of income inequality. The average member of the top 1 percent in the South Florida hotspot earns 73.2 times more than the average earner in the lower 99 percent.

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18. Seattle Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 15.44 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $41,376

According to the Seattle Times, the extraordinary income growth enjoyed by residents of the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue region is driven by the area’s commitment to sustainability. It ranks eighth in the country in innovation and infrastructure. It’s tied for first with Spokane and Boise in terms of clean and affordable energy.

Income in Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue grew by an average of 2.94 percentage points year over year between 2010 and 2015. Hourly workers there earn a healthy $22.91 an hour. Seattle is one of the cities where home prices are skyrocketing, rising $100,000 to $675,000 between June 2016 and June 2017.

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17. Grand Rapids, Mich., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 15.62 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $37,749

According to Area Development a corporate site selection trade magazine, the greater Grand Rapids region “has one of the best economies in the nation.” Instead of ranking alongside similar-sized economies like it has in the past, the region is now measured next to heavyweights like Seattle, Chicago and Boston.

The gains have come from a decade-long strengthening of the area’s education and business bases. The results are evident in the income of the people who work there. Pay has increased an average of 2.97 percentage points year over year for five years. Median hourly wages, however, are still below the national median at $16.41.

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16. Flint, Mich., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 15.91 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $38,159

The birthplace of General Motors and the United Auto Workers Union, Flint has long been a symbol of urban decay and out-migration — but today, there’s finally some good news. Although the median hourly wage is a low $15.95, incomes, in general, have risen an average of 3.01 percentage points year over between 2010 and 2015.

Also, the cost of living is a full 13.3 percent lower than the national average, and it’s one of the few major metropolitan centers in the country where the median home price is less than $100,000.

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15. Modesto, Calif., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 16.02 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $36,834

The Central Valley area around the city of Modesto is part of a small and exclusive fraternity of just 15 metropolitan regions that enjoyed income growth of more than 16 percent over the last five years. Pay there rose by an average of 3.04 percentage points year over year, although the median hourly wage is a full dollar lower than the national median hourly wage of $17.81.

Unemployment in Modesto is quite high at 8.3 percent. The agriculture and wine industries, however, are growing.

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14. Port St. Lucie, Fla., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 16.3 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $43,653

Port St. Lucie is home to three universities and a college — but it’s more than a college town. The region is also a beach town and a golf town that hosts the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame.

With a median value of $210,600, home values are higher than the national median, but the cost of living is fairly low. The region has experienced average year-over-year income growth of 3.13 percentage points, although the median wage workers earn is a comparatively low $15.06 an hour.

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13. Santa Rosa, Calif., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 16.39 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $45,629

Hourly workers in and around Santa Rosa, Calif., earn a healthy median wage of $19.37 an hour. The region, which has experienced average year-over-year growth of 3.1 percentage points between 2010 and 2015, has an unemployment rate that is lower than the state as a whole.

Although at $420,000, the median home price in Santa Rosa is high compared to the national median, it’s lower than the California median at $507,700. Incomes have risen consistently not just over the last five years, but over the last 15, reducing the number of people who earn less than $35,000 a year by 2 percentage points.

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12. Chicago Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 16.48 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $47,242

Incomes rose an average of 3.1 percentage points year over year for the five years preceding the drop in jobless claims, and the median wage worker earns $18.93 an hour — more than a full dollar more than the national median. This is good because it costs $66,162 to live comfortably in Chicago.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin region had the single largest drop in unemployment of all 51 metropolitan areas with populations of 1 million or more between April 2016 and April 2017, dropping a full 1.7 percentage points. That was just the latest batch of good news for the region.

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11. Austin, Texas, Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 16.97 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $47,052

Austin is one of the cities where the cost of living is rising fastest, thanks to the rise in housing prices. It’s a good thing incomes are rising, too.

By 2015, the Austin-Round Rock region had experienced average income growth of 3.21 percentage points for five years straight. The hourly worker there earns a median rate of $18.17. Part of the reason for the rise in pay is that the area created more finance jobs than all but three other metro regions in the entire country in 2015.

That same year, Forbes estimated that home values in the region were overvalued by 19 percent — one of the highest rates in the nation. The publication blamed an increase in “native demand” that drove up prices faster than economic growth.

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10. Detroit Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 17.35 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $44,547

The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn area joins its sister city Flint among the nation’s top 20 income growers. The area — with $246 billion GDP — is officially the 14th-largest economy in the United States, which means it has an economy comparable with that of the nation of Chile.

Workers in the region enjoyed average income growth of 3.27 percent year over year for five years, making the region one of just 10 in the nation with five-year income growth greater than 17 percent. Hourly workers there earn a fairly high median wage of $18.57. Detroit is bouncing back from a pretty large hole. In a separate study, GOBankingRates determined Detroit was the poorest city in Michigan.

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9. Dallas Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 17.68 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $46,858

According to an Oxford Economics forecast, four of the top six counties in the country in terms of projected economic growth are in Texas. Of those, the top two are home to Dallas and Fort Worth. If the recent past is any indication, those projections aren’t far off.

The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington region has enjoyed average income growth of 3.34 percentage points year over year between 2010 and 2015, and the median hourly worker earns a relatively high wage of $18.

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8. Wichita, Ky., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 17.75 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $43,142

In the Wichita region, hourly workers earn a median wage of $16.54, which is below the national median. But income, in general, has risen an average of 3.36 percentage points year over year for five years in a row.

The Wichita Eagle recently referred to the region’s economy as “pretty good.” Although that endorsement sounds fairly tepid, it’s a huge step up considering how hard the Great Recession affected the area. The region has still not reached its pre-2008 employment peak, but unemployment is below 5 percent.

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7. Denver Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 18.83 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $48,435

The Denver-Aurora-Lakewood region is one of just a few in the country with a median hourly wage over $20. Workers there can expect to earn $20.26 an hour. Overall, incomes have risen an average of 3.53 percentage points year over year, making the region one of just seven in the nation that witnessed income growth greater than 18 percent over five years.

In 2016, The New York Times referred to the region as one of the “cities on the sunny side of the American economy.” That’s because the area has unshackled itself from dependence on the area’s natural resources and stoked economic diversification during a major boom in tech jobs and development.

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6. San Francisco Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 20.15 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $41,931

Not only is the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward area one of just six metro regions in the country that experienced income growth greater than 20 percent, but at $24.90, workers enjoy a higher median hourly wage than those in all but one other region on this list. In all, incomes rose an average of 3.77 percentage points year over year between 2010 and 2015.

In 2017, Forbes crowned the region as No. 1 in the country in terms of creating tech jobs, which grew by a whopping 90 percent. San Francisco is one of 12 major cities with lots of job openings.

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5. Greeley, Colo., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 20.34 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $41,078

Referred to by the Denver Post as a “population boom town,” Greeley has continued to welcome transplants even after the oil and gas boom subsided. Much of the population growth can be traced to people moving from other parts of Colorado, making the region the fastest-growing in the state. It’s likely that newcomers are chasing better wages.

Income in the region has grown by an average of 3.78 percentage points year over year between 2010 and 2015, and the average hourly worker earns a median rate of $17.98, which is slightly higher than the national median.

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4. San Jose, Calif., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 22.59 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $59,603

The wealthy San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara region is one of just a handful in the country that experienced average year-over-year income growth greater than 4 percentage points — 4.22 to be exact. At $28.70, the median hourly wage is higher by far than any on this list, and the $59,603 average income is second only to the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk region in Connecticut.

According to Forbes, the median household income is in the six-figure range. But if the people in the region are high earners, they’re also big spenders. The median home price is over $1 million, and the cost of living is nearly 60 percent higher than the national average. Even so, it’s more affordable to buy a home than rent in California.

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3. Provo, Utah, Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 23.12 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $45,741

According to CNN, the job market in the Provo-Orem region is “on fire.” Long propped up by beautiful ski resorts and the Mormon church, a recent employment boom has expanded and diversified the economy at a staggering page. Unemployment there is half the national average and job growth is nearly triple.

An emerging tech hub, the region is home to an avalanche of startups and some of the fastest internet speeds in the world, thanks to the region being designated a Google Fiber City. Incomes have grown by an average of 4.26 percentage points year over year and the average hourly worker earns a strong median wage of $21.25. In fact, Utah is the best state to move to if you’re unemployed and want a job.

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2. Fayetteville, Ark., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 29.72 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $36,863

Although hourly workers in the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers area earn a paltry $15.68 median rate, incomes have risen by an impressive average 5.49 percentage points year over year between 2010 and 2015, for a nearly 30 percent overall rise in income.

Forbes ranked the region No. 2 for jobs among mid-size cities in both 2016 and 2017. The Northwest Arkansas area, which the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers region dominates, ranked No. 24 in the entire country on the list of areas that are business-friendly and good for careers.

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1. Tulsa, Okla., Metro Area

  • 2010-15 income increase: 35.71 percent
  • 2015 personal income: $36,453

Although hourly wage earners bring home an unimpressive median rate of $16.42, everything else about income in the Tulsa region is anything but average. It’s the only area in the country that witnessed income growth greater than 30 percent, as well as the only one that enjoyed average year-over-year increase over 6 percentage points — in fact, it was 6.41.

The city of Tulsa is booming, with several major downtown projects recently completed and several others in the works. Residential units are springing up and filling up, and new commercial development is spurring impressive growth. Better yet: Tulsa is one of the best cities to live if you’re trying to save money.

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See Where Incomes Are Rising and Falling

One-quarter of the metro areas where incomes have risen the most started from a pretty low threshold — places like Grand Rapids and Flint, Mich.; Modesto, Calif.; Fayetteville, Ark. and Tulsa, Okla. all have real personal income levels lower than $40,000. Those income levels will continue to rise, just like they’ll continue to fall in Bridgeport, Conn. — the wealthiest metro area but also the place where incomes are shrinking the fastest.

Up Next: Best and Worst States for Families to Live a Richer Life

Methodology: GOBankingRates analyzed income changes year-to-year from 2010 through 2015 for America’s largest cities. The 200 largest metro areas were sourced from the Census Bureau. Changes in income were calculated based on real income per capita in chained 2009 dollars, sourced from the Census Bureau’s most recent data. The median hourly wage was sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2016 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates.