Average Income of Pennsylvania Counties

Legend Data Explanation Credits PA Maps

This map shows two different types of income values; Per Capita and the Median Household. To see a different map select the option below that you want. Click on the map to show data for the selected county.

Per Capita Income    Median Household Income

legend for map of income per capita legend for map of median household income

Data Explanation

Per capita income is calculated by adding up the income of every member of the population (there will be lots of zeroes, especially among children) and then dividing that total by that number of people. The median household income is calculated by findiing the total income of each household in the county and listing them from highest to lowest; the median of those household incomes is the value that falls in the middle of that ranked list.

These data are based on the 2019 American Community Survey (the most recent one available when this map was made), conducted annually by the US Census Bureau. While the Census Bureau is a government agency and, if they ask for your participation you are required to comply, they are asking the participants to volunteer the amount of their income. They are not following up by checking with the Internal Revenue Service or with employers or state or local government agencies, though it is illegal to lie or to refuse to cooperate.

Per capita income is a measure of how much is available to support every person in the given population, literally on average. If your county (in this case) has a lot of older couples with incomes over $100,000 whose children have grown and moved out, per capita incomes can be relatively high. However, if you have an urban population with younger households, modest incomes and larger numbers of children at home, the income of one or two breadwinners is averaged out among all those people and ends up relatively low.

The median household income is a measure of how much a typical family or household has available to spend. Obviously, there are many types of households, from large extended families with many children and multiple generations to single adults. Some households will have one "breadwinner" while others will have multiple family members with jobs. The other obvious dimension to this measure is that some executives have salaries in the millions while other workers are earning minimum wage or less. Unemployed completely dependent on government welfare programs. Since the median household income is focused on the middle of that range (the median, not the average), the Census Bureau eliminates the influences of those two extremes; other than being part of the ranking of the household incomes, they are not part of the calculation of that central income.

The table below shows Pennsylvania's income levels to be more than 10 percent less than those of the US. In recent censuses the state has stayed close to the US numbers. Within Pennsylvania, the counties vary more than the state as a whole. There are counties near Philadelphia that are dominated by suburban development and have higher income levels. On the other hand, the counties that hold our largest cities can have incomes that are significantly below the state numbers.

Income Comparisons

PA's Highest County PA's Lowest County Pennsylvania United States
Per Capita Income $50,927 $15,245 $30,052 $35,672
Median Household Income $91,822 $29,418 $52,545 $65,712


Income data: US Census Bureau
Basemap: ESRI, Inc.
County boundaries: Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access
Map and Webpage created by: Ben Lacher, Spring 2021
Modifications by: Dr. Geiger, 2021.