Comparing City of Ashland Compensation: Average Incomes

by Dean Silver

As a follow up to my previous article regarding City of Ashland compensation, here is some additional data for comparison and context.  I am presenting it in a graphical format for ease of comprehension, and for those who prefer a pictorial presentation rather than raw numbers.

First, average per capita income:

I am including Mississippi and Connecticut because they have the lowest and highest per capita incomes in the United States, as well as the national average.

Next, mean annual wages. I am only including positions that could be related to some of the positions held by City of Ashland employees:

There are a few things to always remember about statistics.  They may appear precise, but that is an illusion.  There is always a margin of error, and it is rarely expressed.  The results depend upon the source data and the methodology, both of which can vary widely, and the way it is presented.  I have attempted to gather as much of this data as possible from a consistent sources, the US Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in order to minimize such variations. You can find comparable data from other sources, but they often vary.

Here is the Census Bureau’s definition of per capita income:

“Per capita income is the mean income computed for every man, woman, and child in a particular group including those living in group quarters. It is derived by dividing the aggregate income of a particular group by the total population in that group. This measure is rounded to the nearest whole dollar. For the complete definition, go to ACS subject definitions “Income in the Past 12 Months, Per Capita Income.”

The per capita data is based upon net earnings.  Since some people hold more than one salaried or hourly position, the per capita numbers might in fact be a bit higher than actual earnings per job.  But it includes the income of children and other possibly unemployed people.  Therefore, the per capita numbers might in fact be a bit lower than actual earnings per job.  This is the nature of statistical analysis.  It is rarely as clear cut as it might appear at first glance.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has occupations broken down to a very specific level.  I have just included summary data.

My sources are:

Jackson County
US Gov Avg
City of Ashland
Building and Grounds Maintenance
Office & Admin Support
Maintenance and Repair
All Occupations
Police Officers
US Gov Avg
City of Ashland