Oil Boom: Six North Dakota Counties In America’s Top Ten For Per-Capita Income

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Thanks to the Bakken oil boom, no fewer than six of America’s top ten counties ranked by per-capita income are in North Dakota. That wouldn’t have been true just a few years ago.

Drill, baby, drill.

The nation’s oil and gas boom is driving up income so fast in a few hundred small towns and rural areas that it’s shifting prosperity to the nation’s heartland, a USA TODAY analysis of government data shows.

The 261 million people who live in cities and suburbs still haven’t recovered earning power lost in the economic downturn. Average income per person fell 3.5% in metropolitan areas between 2007 and 2011 after adjusting for inflation. …

By contrast, small-town America is better off than before: Inflation-adjusted income is up 3.8% per person since 2007 for the 51 million in small cities, towns and rural areas.

Small-town prosperity is most noticeable in North Dakota, now the nation’s No. 2 oil-producing state. Six of the top 10 counties (in US per capita income) are above the state’s Bakken oil field.

Not surprisingly, North Dakota’s top county for per-capita income was Williams County (Williston) at $81,000/year. The state’s lowest per-capita income was Golden Valley County at $26,292.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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