Mike Parks, editor of the valuable Marple's Pacific Northwest Letter ($), has posted some fascinating data about levels of wealth in Washington and Oregon, digging into the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis figures for 2006, the most recent year available. The figures show how much Washington's richest counties are outstripping nearby states.
King County leads all counties in income per person, $52,655, which is considerably ahead of Oregon's top county, Clackamas, part of the Portland area, with $41,378. The Seattle-area income has been growing at a strong rate of 4.9 percent over the past 10 years, which includes four very slow years in the early part of this decade. By contrast, the Clackamas County growth rate for the past 10 years have averaged 3.8 percent per year. Statewide figures are: Washington, $38,212 (annualized 10-year growth rate of 4.3%); Oregon, $33,299, and 3.6% growth rate; Idaho $29,920, 4.0%. (National per-capita personal income was $36,714 for 2006.)
Some other interesting data points: San Juan County, with all those well-off retirees, is a close second to King County, but then it's a big drop to the third county, Kitsap, at $39,353, a country with the fastest income-growth rate of the two states. Oregon's counties are much more grouped together in income, with only an $11,200 difference from the top county to the tenth; in Washington, that gap is $18,900. The top county in the three-state region is Idaho's Blaine ($59,939), the home of Sun Valley.