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Manhattan has weathered the recent economic downturn better than most other metro areas in the U.S. Per capita personal income has jumped 4.8 percent over 2009, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). But good luck trying to walk in Central Park or shopping at Bloomingdale's. If you want to do so, you'll have to drive about 21 hours due east.
That's because the Manhattan in question is in Kansas. Home to Fort Riley, Manhattan, Kan., is the metro area in the U.S. with one of the highest increases in personal income over the past year. The area employs more than 5,540 civilian personnel, according to the Economic Development Division of the Manhattan (Kansas) Chamber of Commerce, and personal income rose to $40,345 in 2009, BEA data show. Manhattan also had the third biggest jump in per capita income, 48 percent, from 2000 to 2009.
Over the past year some smaller areas that rely on government and military for employment, such as Jacksonville, N.C., and Manhattan, Kan., have experienced per capita income increases, while more affluent regions, such as the area that covers Manhattan, N.Y., watched per capita income drop 4.6 percent, to $52,375, over the same period. Another affluent area, Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, is at the top of the country's metropolitan statistical areas in per capita personal income—$73,720 in 2009, according to the BEA—but overall income has dropped 6.8 percent, to $73,720.
Wealthy individuals remain concentrated near large cities with business and finance hubs, but William H. Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer, says state capitals, military towns, and college towns also often have higher-than-average incomes due to their ability to survive economic downturns, as their main industries are buffered by government-related funds.