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State of California Franchise Tax Board

Statewide Median Income Up In 2011

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Public Affairs Office

For Immediate Release


Sacramento –The statewide median income for all 2011 individual tax returns was $34,684, an increase of 2.2 percent over 2010’s median income amount.  For joint returns, the statewide median income was $68,122, an increase of 3.6 percent over 2010, according to the Franchise Tax Board (FTB).

“Median income” is the point where one half of the tax returns are above and one half is below the midpoint of the range of values.  Median income represents the income reported by a typical California individual or couple.

Californian taxpayers filed 15.8 million 2011 state income tax returns, reporting $1.1 trillion of adjusted gross income.  This is an increase of 5.7 percent from tax year 2010 figures. Adjusted gross income is a tax term that means the total income increased or reduced by specific adjustments, before taking the standard itemized deduction.

Over the past 40 years, the Bay Area counties of Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Contra Costa have consistently reported the highest median incomes. Marin County still has the highest median income for joint returns, reporting $120,170, an increase of 5.4 percent over 2010.  Santa Clara County ranked second with $103,019, while San Mateo County ranked third with $102,793 and Contra Costa County ranked fourth with $89,924.

Los Angeles County taxpayers filed 25.4 percent of all 2011 income tax returns in California. They reported median incomes of $30,255 for all individual returns, and $58,859 for joint returns, ranking 38th and 26th respectively.                     

The largest percentage gain in median income for all counties was 8.2 percent, reported in Alpine County. For joint filed returns the largest increase was in Trinity County, with a 7.0 percent increase.

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