A pay bump can make a big difference for families, especially during an economic downturn. According to recent data, median earnings in the U.S. rose just 3% between 2019 and 2021, but some cities saw up to 10 times that income growth. In the Valley, an analysis shows that five Metro Phoenix cities ranked among the top 50 cities with the largest income growth in the nation.

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To get a better understanding of where incomes are rising the most, SmartAsset crunched U.S. Census income data for 124 of the largest cities in the country. Specifically, we looked at changes between 2019 and 2021, which is the most recent publicly available data.

In general, median earnings across the U.S. rose just 3% over two years, but some cities saw up to 10 times that income growth. While such disparities can be due to a variety of causes, residents in these cities had economic tailwinds to help them through recent cost of living increases.

To see where income increased most, SmartAsset examined Census Bureau data for 124 of the largest cities in the country and ranked them by the size of income changes between 2019 and 2021. 

Key Findings

Median income grew by more than 30% in these cities. In just two years, the median household income grew by 31.3% in San Bernardino, CA;, and 30.2% in Huntsville, AL.

New York and San Francisco both saw income losses between 2019 and 2021. The median household income fell 2.03% to $69,997 in New York and 1.64% to $121,826 in San Francisco. They were among 15 cities that had two-year income declines, including Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which saw income fall nearly 10% to $45,819.

These North Carolina cities saw particularly high income growth. The median household income in Winston-Salem and Fayetteville increased 21.65% and 17.90%, respectively, between 2019 and 2021. 

Nine cities have a median income over $100k. Fremont, CA has the highest median household income in the country at nearly $156,000; followed by Frisco, TX ($130,118); and San Jose, CA ($126,377). 

Incomes fell by more than 7% in these cities. Baton Rouge, LA had it worst with a 9.96% income decrease over the span of two years – from $45,819 annually to $41,257. Laredo, TX (8.75%); Orlando, FL (7.91%) and Cincinnati, OH (7.62%) also experienced particularly high drops in median income. 

Arizona cities ranked by income growth

Arizona cities are ranked by the highest percentage increase in median household income between 2019 and 2021.

Where Income Increased Most

Cities are ranked by the highest percentage increase in median household income between 2019 and 2021.