Brookings Report and Maine Per Capita Income


On October 19th, Growsmart will be hosting its annual Maine Summit. As such, I thought it would be appropriate to reexamine some of the data that was provided to us in the Brookings report that preceded the first Growsmart Summit. As I reported in one of our Issue Briefs, “Inconvenient Truth,” the Brookings Institution attempted to portray an inaccurate view of Maine’s economy. Specifically, they claimed that “Maine’s per capita income now stands at an all-time high relative to the U.S. average” (pg. 32) I have updated the chart from my report to see if my original criticism of the Brookings report is still valid. Unfortunately for Maine, it is.
The chart below shows that since 2003, Maine’s per capita income has steadily fallen against the national average and in 2006 stands at 87.2 percent. Since 1985, only one year has Maine been lower against the national average and that was in 2000 at 87 percent. As such, Maine is perilously close to falling to a level against the national average not seen in 21 years.
Overall, Maine has the 39th highest level of per capita income in the country–only a few spots above the dreaded “bottom ten” joining such poorly economic performing state such as Mississippi, West Virginia and Louisiana. The 39th ranking is the lowest since 1983.
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