Chart of the Week: Household Income Soars In Energy-Producing States
Rob Bluey /
North Dakota’s energy boom helped the state surpass California and Alaska to become the No. 2 oil-producing state in America. But oil isn’t the only thing that’s booming.
Household income rose faster in North Dakota than any other state between 2005 and 2010. Only the District of Columbia — home to the bloated federal government and overpaid bureaucrats — had a bigger increase, according to U.S. Census data. Three other energy-producing states — Colorado, West Virginia and Wyoming — rounded out the top five.
The rise in household income for North Dakota began around the time of the oil boom in the mid-2000s. It continues today, evidenced by the stories of North Dakotans featured in a recent video (below) produced by Heritage and the Institute for Energy Research about the often-maligned fracking process and the state’s embrace of drilling.
Susan Gordon moved from California with her daughter to open the WildcatZ Grill in Tioga, ND. “We saw the opportunity for both of us to come here and make something of it,” she said. “Back in California the opportunity wouldn’t have been such.”
North Dakota was one of only 14 states (and the District of Columbia) to experience a rise in household income between 2005 and 2010, according to the most recent Census data. The overall U.S. average during that time declined 4.4 percent. (Complete ranking of all 50 states.)
The oil boom has other benefits for North Dakota as well. The state has an unemployment rate of 3 percent, lowest in the country. The U.S. unemployment rate is 8.2 percent.
Energy has helped boost income in other states as well. The U.S. Energy Information Administration ranks Wyoming, West Virginia and Colorado among the top 10 energy-producing states in America. All three had a household income increase above 4.8 percent.
The opposite is true for Alaska. The state, which has suffered a drop in oil production, had a 6.8 percent decline in household income. The federal government has placed large areas of Alaska off limits for energy production.