Hampton Roads’ Per Capita Income (PCI) was $44,756 in 2013, an increase of 0.5% over 2012. PCI is considered one of the best measures of the overall health of an economy, taking the total personal income in a region, and dividing it by the population; this gives an indication of the average wellbeing of individuals in the region. Hampton Roads’ PCI is slightly below the average income for U.S. metropolitan areas, and ranks 16th out of its 35 reference MSAs (those regions with a population between 1 and 3 million in 2013).
Hampton Roads’ PCI grew at a slower rate than that of the nation, and this was particularly true in 2013 when the region’s PCI grew 0.5% versus the nation’s 1.3%. If regional income growth mirrored national income growth, Hampton Roads’ PCI would be $1,410 greater.
One way to track the economic performance of the citizens of Hampton Roads comes from comparing its PCI to that of the nation, and over a longer period, this indicates the region’s relative income growth. Hampton Roads’ PCI fell below that of the nation briefly in the late 1970’s, but grew faster during the defense expansion of the 1980s. Hampton Roads fell significantly behind the nation in the 1990s due to both a decline in the Department of Defense budget and the rapid growth experienced in other parts of the country as a result of the internet boom. Department of Defense spending has typically remained unaffected during recessions, and as a result Hampton Roads’ incomes outperformed the nation during the most recent recession. However, recent issues with the Federal Budget drove Hampton Roads’ PCI back down to the national level (U.S. Per Capita Income was $44,765 in 2013).