Study ranks Carbondale last in discretionary income among small Illinois communities


Daily Egyptian file photo

By Amelia Blakely

In a study released in October and conducted by Trove Technologies, a storage and moving company based in San Francisco, Carbondale ranked last among small metropolitan communities in Illinois for discretionary income.

The discretionary income study is the first of its kind because it uses data that displays regional differences in salaries, cost of living and taxes across a state, said Michael Pao, the company’s co-founder.

The data used is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Tax Foundation and the Council For Community and Economic Research, Pao said.


The study looks at the take-home pay of American workers working across 778 professions, and Pao said the findings show the salaries in Carbondale trail Decatur by 13.8 percent.

Nationally, Carbondale ranks in the 48th percentile, according to the study.

Pao said Illinois ranks last among Midwest states in discretionary income, and Carbondale has some of the lowest salaries in the state.

“That’s reflected in some trends across the state where Illinois may or may not be losing some jobs, specifically manufacturing and production jobs to neighbors like Indiana and Kansas,” Pao said.

The study shows people living in Carbondale and working in industries like producing and directing, vocational counseling and manufacturing make less money than they would elsewhere. Those working in the education training and food preparation fields rank high in the study compared to other locations.

Pao said this isn’t surprising because education training and food preparation are usually the most popular industries in college towns.

Trove created this study to help its client base decide where to move, Pao said.


“They’re thinking about anything ranging from ‘I need to move my family’ to ‘I’m going to move across the country,’” Pao said.

States like Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, which have a higher-than-average pay rate for workers, are shown in the study to have a higher discretionary income, Pao said.

“Where you choose to live and where you choose to settle down depends on a lot more than just income, but it’s one of the many factors,” Pao said.

Staff writer Amelia Blakely can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @AmeilaBlakely.

To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.