What is this?
Household income describes the total annual income of all members of a household, including full and part-time wages, earnings from investments, and government benefits.
Why does it matter?
A healthy income makes it easier for Memphians to support themselves and their families and build a good life in Memphis.
Who is responsible?
Income levels are driven by the private sector, with support from local economic development organizations such as the Memphis Shelby Growth Alliance.
How do we measure performance?
We look at median household income of households within the City of Memphis and compare to our past history, Shelby County, and the rest of the U.S.
We use median household income data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS). Household income measures the total income from all members of a household, including salary, investments, Social Security and other government benefits, and full or part time work. Median income describes the level of income that half of households fall above and half fall below. We use ACS income figures that have been adjusted to remove the effect of inflation.
Median household income grew a total of 1% in Memphis from 2009 to 2013, the most recent five years for which data is available. This growth lags behind that of Shelby County and the U.S. as a whole, which grew 4.8% and 3.2%, respectively, during the same period.
A region's income grows when the number of available jobs grows faster than the population, when the proportion of high-paying jobs increases, and when greater numbers of workers become qualified for high-paying jobs. Local business groups and economic development organizations work to support the first two parts of that equation -- job growth and a shift to higher-paying jobs. The Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE), the City of Memphis Office of Resources and Enterprise (MORE), StartCo, the Memphis Bioworks Foundation, the Entrepreneurship Powered Innovation Center (EPICenter), and Emerge Memphis all work to make Memphis a fertile place for entrepreneurship and business growth.
Preparing workers for higher-paying jobs is likewise the work of many hands. The Shelby County School system is driving toward that goal with Destination 2025, a strategic plan that strives for eighty percent of seniors to be college- or career-ready, ninety percent to graduate on time, and one hundred percent of graduating seniors to enroll in post-secondary opportunities by the Class of 2025. PeopleFirst!, a program of the People First Partnership, is working to strengthen the region's cradle-to-career pipeline with a portfolio of initiatives aimed at learning readiness, educational outcomes, educational attainment, and talent retention and attraction. The City of Memphis, as a key stakeholder, supports those initiatives and participates in the state's Drive to 55 Alliance, which aims to increase the education level of workers throughout the state.