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Washington County was 997th out of 3005 counties in the US in terms of per capita income, 55th out of the 99 counties of Iowa, for 2009 returns

By David Faden | Dec 11, 2012

The IRS provides county level data on tax returns for the whole US.

Using the free stats program R, we can easily play around with the numbers a bit. For instance, where does Washington County rank in terms of per capita income relative to the rest of Iowa and to the country as a whole?

Looking at the 2009 data (the latest available):

> d <- read.csv("Downloads/09incicsv.csv",
> names(d)
 [1] "State_Code"     "County_Code"    "State_Abbrv"
     "County_Name"    "Return_Num"     "Exmpt_Num"      "AGI"           
 [8] "Wages_Salaries" "Dividends"      "Interest"
> sum(d$State_Abbrv == "IA")
[1] 100

Poking around the file, we find it contains info on some non-counties too. (Eg, we find 100 rows for Iowa, not just 99.) The counties, sensibly enough though, seem to have have "County" at the end of their names. Select just those:

> counties <- d[grepl("County$", d$County_Name), ]
> sum(counties$State_Abbrv == "IA")
[1] 99

One last wrinkle is that to avoid revealing personal info, the numbers for counties with very small numbers of people are suppressed, replaced with -1. Let's filter those out:

> nrow(counties)
[1] 3006
> counties <- subset(counties, AGI != -1)
> nrow(counties)
[1] 3005

The rank function orders items from smallest to largest. So, to get the largest first, just multiply by -1:

> counties$rank <- rank(-counties$AGI / counties$Return_Num)
> subset(counties, State_Abbrv == "IA" & County_Name == "Washington County")$rank
[1] 997

That is, roughly, 1/3 of counties in the US are richer per capita than Washington County, looking at adjusted gross income.

> ia <- subset(counties, State_Abbrv == "IA")
> ia$rank <- rank(-ia$AGI / ia$Return_Num)
> subset(ia, County_Name == "Washington County")$rank
[1] 55

So, more than half of Iowa counties have per capita income higher than Washington County.

Do these numbers look right to you?

Comments (1)
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Dec 12, 2012 12:51

Google was the third largest source of Obama’s campaign cash. A number of Google executives took jobs within Obama Inc and Google’s PAC has plowed large amounts of money into the Democratic Party.

Google’s ex-CEO Eric Schmidt was a major Obama donor and campaign advisor, and was even considered for a Cabinet post. Schmidt was on Obama’s transition board and is a member of his Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. So naturally when Obama talks about making the rich pay, he doesn’t mean his friends at Google who moved 80 percent of their pre-tax profits into a shell company in Bermuda.

Google Inc. (GOOG) avoided about $2 billion in worldwide income taxes in 2011 by shifting $9.8 billion in revenues into a Bermuda shell company, almost double the total from three years before, filings show.

By legally funneling profits from overseas subsidiaries into Bermuda, which doesn’t have a corporate income tax, Google cut its overall tax rate almost in half. The amount moved to Bermuda is equivalent to about 80 percent of Google’s total pretax profit in 2011.

The Internet search giant has avoided billions of dollars in income taxes around the world using a pair of tax shelter strategies known as the Double Irish and Dutch Sandwich, Bloomberg News reported in 2010. The tactics, permitted under tax law in the U.S. and elsewhere, move royalty payments from subsidiaries in Ireland and the Netherlands to a Bermuda unit headquartered in a local law firm.

Last year, Google reported a tax rate of just 3.2 percent on the profit it said was earned overseas, even as most of its foreign sales were in European countries with corporate income tax rates ranging from 26 percent to 34 percent. Microsoft, Amazon, Google and others paid for Obama's re-election. When Obama talks about taxing the rich, apparently he exempts the rich who donate to him. Talk about hypocrisy!

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