5 Cities Where Income Has Dropped the Most Since 2008 (and What to Do About It)

cities where Income has dropped most

Can you believe it’s been just about 10 years since we knew the U.S. economy was going downhill?

As a whole, the country seems to have recovered: Interest rates are up, unemployment is down, and housing prices are at an all-time high.

Although some places are thriving, others feel like they’re stuck in a bad 2000s movie — and have seen income drop since the recession.

The Penny Hoarder recently compiled a list of cities where income has grown and dropped the most since 2008.

Here are the top five cities in each category as well as tips for increasing your income no matter where you live.

5 cities where income has grown the most

These cities are rebounding harder than Dennis Rodman. In order from least to most, here are the cities that have seen the biggest income gains over the past decade.

5. Fayetteville, Arkansas


Annual income: $53,662

Gain since 2008: 22 percent

4. Goshen, Indiana

When Kona Ice is downtown, you know it’s officially summer. ☀️🍧

A post shared by Good Of Goshen (@goodofgoshen) on

Annual income: $40,240

Gain since 2008: 23.7 percent

3. Hanford, California

Annual income: $32,793

Gain since 2008: 23.8 percent

2. Bismarck, North Dakota

Annual income: $52,729

Gain since 2008: 25.1 percent

1. Carson City, Nevada

Annual income: $41,804

Gain since 2008: 40.9 percent

A number of factors — greatly dependent on location — led to these jumps.

In Bismarck, for example, “energy, agriculture, retail, and healthcare” have seen “marked growth” since the recession, according to Kate Herzog, marketing and assistant director at the Downtown Business Association of Bismarck.

“The entrepreneurial ecosystem has also contributed to sustainable growth in jobs, with groups like Start Bismarck fueling development in technology and startup businesses,” she said. “Employers are also focusing on key community livability features to attract talent and smart economic growth.”

5 cities where income has fallen the most

Unfortunately, the following five cities have seen the biggest drops in income since 2008.

5. Olympia, Washington

Caught a shooting star from delta aquariids meteor shower while taking photos of Olympia last night.

A post shared by Cody Smith (@wiley.coyody) on

Annual income: $38,157

Loss since 2008: 3.3 percent

4. Longview, Texas

Annual income: $42,153

Loss since 2008: 3.3 percent

3. Grand Junction, Colorado

What’s your favorite thing about #downtowngj?

A post shared by Downtown Grand Junction (@downtowngj) on

Annual income: $37,749

Loss since 2008: 4.1 percent

2. Midland, Michigan

All in the golden afternoon. #adventuresofcaptainbarkley #puremichigan

A post shared by Captain Barkley (@captainbarkley) on

Annual income: $45,273

Loss since 2008: 5.2 percent

1. Charlotte, North Carolina

Annual income: $44,095

Loss since 2008: 11 percent

Sarah Eiley Cowherd, a Charlotte-based doula, found the news about her city surprising.

“We moved from Syracuse, New York, a typical decaying Rust Belt city, and are still amazed to see how much growth and economic opportunity exists in Charlotte,” she said. “There are cranes and excavators everywhere, and whole neighborhoods are being rebuilt.”

How to increase your income — no matter where you live

Whether you live in a city on the first list, in a city on the second list, or somewhere in between, you can always take matters into your own hands.

Here are a few suggestions for increasing your earning power wherever you live.

Improve your value proposition

Before you can even think about asking for more money at your current job — or looking for one that pays better — you need to increase your value.

Here are some strategies to try:

  • Ask for more responsibility: With more responsibility comes more money, but you have to ask for it. Propose managing an intern, training a new hire, or leading a special project.
  • Find problems to solve: If your boss won’t give you more responsibility, then take it. Look around your workplace for problems to solve; once they see you taking initiative, they might give your request a second look.
  • Learn new skills: Think about the skills that would help you do your job better. Coding? Marketing? Graphic design? Then find a way to learn them on Udemy or at a community college.

Ask for a raise

Ready to strike a power pose? If you’ve followed the steps above and spent time increasing your value proposition, then asking for a raise should be no sweat.

But preparation is critical. Here are some steps you can take to prepare before asking for a raise:

  • Outline your case in writing: Include details about your achievements and increased job responsibilities.
  • Use numbers: Pull salary data from websites such as PayScale and Glassdoor, and if you can, add information about how much you’ve contributed to the company’s bottom line.
  • Schedule an in-person meeting: Write up your argument and schedule an in-person meeting to review it.

Consider making a side income in other ways

Tried the steps above and your income still isn’t cutting it? Then it might be time to launch a side hustle.

You could rent out a room on Airbnb, start pet sitting, drive for Uber, or do anything else you think would be a good fit. The important thing is that you enjoy and are good at your chosen gig — and that it’s something people will pay for.

Although some cities have prospered since the recession, others have suffered. No matter where you live, though, you can take action to advocate for yourself and your paycheck.

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