Median Household Income

How are we doing?

Median Household Income (2015)

In 2015 median household income was $46,162 for the Tucson Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), 15.4% lower than the nation and 8.5% below the state of Arizona. When compared to the 12 western MSAs, Tucson ranked near the bottom, above only El Paso, which had a median household income of $41,578. Denver, at $65,614, had the highest median household income of the 12 MSAs—34.8% higher than Tucson. Overall, Tucson has displayed an upward trend in median household income since 2000. This upward trend reflects a 25.6% increase in the inflation-adjusted median household income between 2000 and 2015.

Why is it important?

Median household income is one measure, among many, that gauges the economic well-being of a region. Median household income provides information about the financial resources available to households. Higher household incomes are commonly associated with a greater means of acquiring goods and services. Household income is closely tied to employment levels, educational attainment, and regional economic opportunities.

How do we compare?

The median household income in 2015 for the Hispanic population of the Tucson MSA was $36,745, 14.9% lower than the Hispanic population nationally. All races and ethnicities in Tucson fall short of the national median household income level, with the exception of African Americans.  In 2015, there was a substantial gap between the median income for Hispanic households and white, non-Hispanic households within Tucson, with a difference of just over $15,400. 


The population aged 65 and older does relatively well in the Tucson MSA compared to the nation. The median household income for the 65 and older age group in Tucson was $41,007, 5.7% higher than the nation at $38,726. In contrast, the 45–64 and 25–44 age groups fare better within the state of Arizona and nationwide when compared to Tucson. The median household income for the 45–64 age group in Tucson was $56,124, whereas the nation was $65,399 in 2015, more than an $9,200 difference. Likewise, the 25–44 age group earned $10,000 dollars less in Tucson when compared to the U.S.

When comparing the median income for families with children under the age of 18 in the Tucson MSA, married-couple families had the highest at $71,998. Male-headed families and female-headed families with no spouse present had median incomes of $35,633 and $23,659, respectively. In Tucson, male-headed families with no spouse present earned 40.4 % more than female-headed families with no spouse present. This was slightly less than the difference for the U.S. (43.8%), but higher than Arizona (34.9%). Married-couple families often have a substantially higher median income than male- or female-headed households with no spouse present, due to the possibility of dual wage earners. 

What are the key trends?

Inflation-adjusted median household income in the Tucson MSA has followed an upward trend since 2000, peaking in 2008 at $46,599. During the Great Recession, Tucson posted a considerable decrease of 7.4%. Median household income has slowly rebounded since the Great Recession with an average growth rate of 1.5% per year. The nation also posted a decrease in median household income during the Great Recession but to a much lesser extent than Tucson or Arizona. By 2013, the U.S. had fully recovered to the pre-recession median household income level. 

How is it measured?

Household income includes the sum of income earned by individuals 15 years and older living in a household during the calendar year, whether they are related to the head of the householder or not. A person living alone is also counted as a household. Income includes wages and salaries, transfer payments, child support, rental receipts, dividends, and interest, as well as other kinds of income routinely received. Median household income has been adjusted for inflation. Median refers to the midpoint of the income distribution, with half the number of households receiving income above the midpoint and half receiving income below. It is important to note that a household often includes more than one income earner. Median Household Income data is from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is a nationwide rolling-sample survey that produces one and five-year estimates on demographic, social, housing, and economic measures. Data provided in this analysis utilized five-year estimates.