These Maps Show Where Rents Are Going Up and Incomes Are Going Down

Today, the Census Bureau released its latest update to the American Community Survey, publishing a trove of recent data on everything from education levels to economic indicators for the United States’ 3,142 counties. The new numbers offer evidence of the lasting effects of the Great Recession and the ongoing financial stagnation faced by most Americans: In counties across the country, poverty rates are up and incomes are down, while rents are rising and home ownership is dropping.

Poverty: When compared with the five years between 2005 to 2009, 1,052 counties saw an increase in poverty rates between 2010 and 2014. Just 136 counties experienced drops in poverty rates. What’s more, 113 counties, mostly in the South, had poverty rates of 30 percent or higher.

American Community Survey

Income: Counties around New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC, have some of the highest real median household incomes. Still, 961 counties saw drops in real median household income during the past five years.

American Community Survey

Rent: Since 2005, real median rents have increased in nearly 23 percent of counties. Six percent of all counties, mostly in the South, West, and Northeast, saw median rents of more than $1,000 per month.

American Community Survey

Home Ownership: Following the housing crisis, 931 counties saw drops in the rate of owner-occupied homes.

American Community Survey

Education: One bright spot—roughly 32 percent of counties now have more adults with bachelor’s degrees.

American Community Survey


We recently wrapped up the crowdfunding campaign for our ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project, and it was a smashing success. About 10,364 readers pitched in with donations averaging $45, and together they contributed about $467,374 toward our $500,000 goal.

That's amazing. We still have donations from letters we sent in the mail coming back to us, so we're on pace to hit—if not exceed—that goal. Thank you so much. We'll keep you posted here as the project ramps up, and you can join the hundreds of readers who have alerted us to corruption to dig into.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.