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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Where the bucks are

The IRS has just posted a huge bank of .xls spreadsheets wherein one can see various statistics of income from the tax year 2001, for every zip code in the country. If you like statistics, you could spend hours leafing through this stuff.

Did you know that in Oregon that year, there were 1,515,309 federal income tax returns filed by individuals and married couples? The adjusted gross income (AGI) reported on these returns was $66,031,596,000. So the average return showed AGI of $43,576.32.

The total for the whole country was 126,018,336 returns, with AGI of $5,976,568,114,000, or an average AGI of $47,426.78. So Oregonians were making 8.12% less income (or at least, they reported that much less on their tax returns) than the average American that year.

(Compare Beverly Hills 90210, where 10,570 returns showed AGI of $3,140,811,000 -- an average of $297,143.90.)

There were 297,271 Oregon returns with AGI under $10,000 (19.62% of the returns); 388,334 with AGI between $10,000 and $24,999 (25.63%); 396,757 with AGI between $25,000 and $49,999 (26.18%); and 432,947 with AGI of $50,000 or more (28.7%).

Just for geeky fun, I took my own zip code in northeast Portland, 97212, and looked at the same figures. There were 12,147 returns filed, showing AGI of $677,759,000 (an average of $55,796.41). Of these, 2,221 were under $10,000 (18.28%); 2,517 between $10,000 and $25,000 (20.72%); 2,864 between $25,000 and $49,999 (23.58%); and 4,545 at $50,000 or more (37.42%). Conclusion? My zip code is quite a bit better off than the rest of Oregon and the nation.

But where are the real money-makers around here? For kicks, I took the zip code where I work, 97219, and gave it a whirl. There were 18,444 returns filed, showing AGI of $1,188,920,000 (an average of $64,461.07). Conclusion? Folks are getting richer up where I work than down where I live.

How about central Lake Oswego, 97034? You find 9,458 returns, and AGI of $1,022,718,000 -- an average AGI of $108,132.59. Conclusion? Now that's really a rich community by Oregon and national standards.

Just up the ridge from us in northeast Portland is 97213. Total returns were 14,823, with AGI of $592,464,000, an average of $39,969.24 -- considerably below the statewide average. Conclusion? People really are just scraping by up there.

One last run -- my old stomping grounds, inner southeast, 97215. There were 13,073 returns, with total AGI of $478,583,000 -- an average of $36,608.51. There's the lowest I've come up with so far.

To sum up the income numbers:

USA - $47,426.78 Oregon - $43,576.32 Beverly Hills - $297,143.90 97212 - $55,796.41 97219 - $64,461.07 97034 - $108,132.59 97213 - $39,969.24 97215 - $36,608.51

I'd be interested if any readers are nerdly enough to draw their own interesting conclusions from these tables. Please post 'em here. (Via TaxProf Blog.)

Comments (17)

97225 just under 73,000. Pretty weathy digs here on the west slope. But I could have told you that by the number of houses selling for 500K + and by the number of Neil Kelly remodeling signs out front of houses up here.

I recall reading a post from a few weeks ago that featured a link to a NY Times editorial where a Yale tax law professor proposed eliminating returns for people with AGI under $100K, to be replaced by some kind of GST. Looking at the numbers you posted today, that idea looks like it would save over 70% of Oregonians from filing tax returns. What is the downside to this plan? Is it just easier to shift the tax burden on the poor and middle class if they keep it the way it is?

for my NoPo zip code, 97217,

AGI # of Returns

Under $10,000 2,467
$10,000 under $25,000 4,084
$25,000 under $50,000 4,458
$50,000 or more 2,968

It would be interesting to see how this has changed since 2001. Also, it says this data is for individual income tax returns - I wonder about the data for joint returns.

No, when they say individual, they mean as opposed to corporate. This data clearly includes joint returns.

BTW, for 97217, on 13,977 returns there was AGI of $485,226,000, for an average of $34,716.03 -- lower than even the southeast average in the main post here.

Thanks. It is astonishing - you think you are middle class but then you look at these numbers and you realize how many people are really struggling to get by. Of course - getting rid of the estate tax and dividend taxes will SURELY help most of these people.

Yes, the millions they'll be saving in Lake Oswego will surely trickle down.

My current zip - 97202
# of Returns -- 18,507
Total AGI -- $801,299,000
Avg AGI -- $43,297

Where I grew up (and my parents still live) 97206
# of Returns -- 20,605
Total AGI -- $658,025,000
Avg AGI -- $31,935

I'd love to see the 2004 numbers and compare them to the voting results of the presidential election. It looks like we won't see those numbers for awhile.

For my Zip Code, 97218 (NE Portland roughly east of 42nd, north of Mason, west of 82nd, south of the Columbia River). About two-thirds of this areais PDX and the mostly industrial/commerical south of it. This explains the low number of returns):

Number of Returns: 5437

Under $10,000: 958 (17.6 percent)
$10,000 under $25,000: 1636 (30.1 percent)
$25,000 under $50,000: 1746 (32 percent)
$50,000 or more: 1100 (20.2 percent)

AGI: $177,718,000
AGI average per Return: $32,587

BTW, the Atlas of Oregon (Second Edition, 2001) shows Durham as the city or unincorporated area (u) in the Portland area with the highest household income in 2000, followed by Happy Valley, Oak Hills (u), Lake Oswego and Rock Creek (u). Of the 40 areas, Portland is 36th. 37th through 40th: North Plains, Forest Grove, King City, Johnson City.

Some areas are served by more than one Zip Code and some Zip Codes serve more than one city or unincorporated area so it's hard to compare the Altas of Oregon to the 2001 IRS data. For example, Durham is not the only city or area with Zip Code 97224. Happy Valley is served by three Zip Codes: 97015, 97236 and 97266.

I started to look up Short Hills, NJ 07078 (where some heavy money resides), but the page was taking too long to load. I was curious to see how it stacked up against Beverly Hills.

I was trying to be the first guy through the door on Wednesday, but I remembered that it ain't midnight there yet. Figuring out time differences and making change were never my strong suits.


I got on and looked at zip 07078 for you and you are right.

Total AGI $2,068,666,000
# of Returns 6,571
Avg AGI $314,818 (ouch)

Hilsy -
Thanks. I had often heard that Short Hills was one of the wealthiest towns (if not the wealthiest town) in the US. I live geographically close to the place, but economically light years away.

Jim- PRS: Check out our roots:

07105 - $37,603.97
07032 - $39,890.34

State of California: AGI $54,136

90262 (city of Lynwood, which is right next door to Compton): AGI $24,660

So our income of $34,560 makes us part of the upper crust of South Central LA.

Jack - I guess that leaving Down Neck was indeed "movin' on up," but just not that far up. :-)

City of Camas comes in just over $70,000. Amazing with all the shacks down by the paper mill. Of course, most of the houses on our hill sell for north of $440,000. I'd love to see the average for the Hill versus the Mill.
(average for those with returns over $50,000 is $129,000+)

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