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The share of Idaho workers earning minimum wage has grown from 5 percent in 2011 to 7.7 percent in 2012. The growth has put Idaho in the top spot for the largest share of minimum wage workers in the country.How did that happen? And what’s being done to reverse the trend?

New Income Data Show Idaho Is A More Expensive Place To Live Than 19 States

Price Parities 2011
Data: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis | Chart: Emilie Ritter Saunders

Data released today from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis show personal income in Idaho hasn’t fully rebounded from the recession, though growth has been measured in the last two years.

The personal income data from 2007 through 2011 offers a closer look at real-time incomes in relation to the state-specific cost of goods and services during that same time period.

Both real personal income and per capita personal income grew more slowly than the national average in 2011. Real personal income grew on average 2.7 percent in 2011. In Idaho, that growth was 2.3 percent over the previous year.

The states with the largest growth in incomes are South and North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, and Texas. The states with the smallest growth rate in real personal income during 2011 were Mississippi, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New Mexico.

Personal income measures can often be deceiving without understanding what it costs to live in a particular state. The BEA took a crack at understanding the cost of goods and services in each state as a way to offer an income baseline.

For example, according to their 2011 price parity data, Hawaii is the most expensive state while South Dakota is the least. Idaho is in the middle of the pack. The cost of goods and services is more expensive in Idaho than in 19 other states.

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