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US Census reports states income drops to 5-year low in Hall
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Comparing incomes

Here’s a look at median household incomes in Hall County:

2013: $44,995

2012: $49,737

2011: $50,108

2010: $47,002

2009: $49,015

The median household income in Hall County is at its lowest level in five years and is below both the Georgia and national averages, according to recent numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The income amount has fluctuated over the past five years, peaking at $50,108 in 2011 but sinking to $44,995 in 2013.

The numbers are based on income in the past 12 months of each survey and are adjusted each time for inflation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, which was released Thursday.

The Census Bureau says median household income includes money earned by anyone 15 or older in the home. The median is the dividing line between all income numbers reported in the survey.

“One thing in the last few years that we were deeply impacted by and that is probably showing up in the census data is that small businesses and retailers were deeply affected during the recession,” said Tim Evans, the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s vice president of economic development.

“Small business owners make up a huge portion of Hall County’s economy, so (the numbers) may be reflecting what’s happening with (them) over the last 6-7 years.”

The nationwide survey is a collection of personal information from Americans, including age, race, income, commute time to work, home value and veteran status.

It is “designed to provide communities a fresh look at how they are changing,” according to census officials. “It is a critical element in the Census Bureau’s decennial census program.”

The bureau randomly selects 3.5 million addresses each year to participate in the survey.

“Response ... is mandatory because the American Community Survey is part of the decennial census, replacing the long form that previously was sent to a percentage of households once every 10 years,” according to the bureau’s website.

Officials develop a news release for major cities in the U.S., with the focus in Atlanta on median household income.

The bureau reported that 2013’s metro Atlanta numbers show a 2 percent drop to $55,733 from $56,850 in 2010, the first full year after the 2007-09 recession, which was considered America’s worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Hall’s median income in 2010 was $47,002. The drop between 2010 and 2013 was 4.3 percent.

In 2013, Georgia’s median income was $47,829 and the U.S. income, $52,250.

Evans also noted the disparity in incomes between Hall and those of metro Atlanta. The median income in Gwinnett County, for example was $58,917 in 2013.

“There’s a larger white-collar population of workers in Gwinnett and that’s true for Forsyth, too,” he said. “Blue-collar production jobs pay well, better than many jobs out there, but not as well as executive and management jobs in the front office.”

A drive down Satellite Boulevard in Gwinnett is proof of heavy corporate involvement in the county.

Hall is catching up, though, with growth happening along its own four-lane Thurmon Tanner Parkway, which runs parallel to Interstate 985 between Flowery Branch and Oakwood.

Still, Evans is a little surprised at the census numbers.

“In a lot of the growth in Gwinnett — North Gwinnett, particularly, around Sugarloaf Parkway — many of the employees are choosing to live in South Hall,” he said. “That’s starting to drive up our incomes, but the numbers don’t seem to bear that out.”