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State of California Franchise Tax Board

FTB Reports Statewide Median Income Up In 2012

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For Immediate Release


Sacramento –The statewide median income for all 2012 individual tax returns was $35,910, an increase of 3.5 percent over 2011’s median income amount. For joint returns, the statewide median income was $70,938, an increase of 4.1 percent over 2011, 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.

California taxpayers filed nearly 16 million 2012 state income tax returns, reporting almost $1.5 trillion of adjusted gross income. This is an increase of 27.7 percent from tax year 2011 figure of $1.1 trillion. Adjusted gross income is a tax term that means the total income increased or reduced by specific adjustments, before taking the standard or itemized deduction.

Over the past 40 years, the Bay Area counties of Marin, San Mateo, and Santa Clara have consistently reported the highest median incomes. Marin County still has the highest median income for joint returns, reporting $127,471, an increase of 6.1 percent over 2011. 

Top 10 Counties Reporting Highest Joint Tax Return Median Income

Rank County Median Income (Joint Returns)
1 Marin $127,471
2 San Mateo $109,827
3 Santa Clara $109, 309
4 Alameda $93,557
5 Contra Costa $93,367
6 San Francisco $87,446
7 Placer $83,869
8 El Dorado $82,706
9 Orange $78,108
10 Ventura $77,340

Los Angeles County taxpayers filed more than a quarter (26.6 percent) of all 2012 income tax returns in California. Los Angeles County reported median incomes of $31,144 for all individual returns, and $60,939 for joint returns, ranking 36th and 25th respectively.                      

The largest percentage gain in median income for all counties was 6.0 percent, reported in Contra Costa County. For joint filed returns the largest increase was in San Francisco County, with a 7.7 percent increase.

For 2000-2011 data, visit our newsroom

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