COLUMBIA CITY – Whitley County’s per capita personal income exceeded the $40,000 mark for the first time ever, according to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, which recently released its report for 2016.

The Whitley County Economic Development Corp. shared the findings, and President Jon Myers is happy with the news.

“Perhaps the most important role of the EDC is to increase the income and opportunities for the residents of Whitley County. This is great news for our families, communities and local economy,” said EDC President Jon Myers.

According to the report, per capita personal income for the nation grew 1.6 percent in 2016. Whitley County more than doubled that percentage at 3.7 percent — one of the highest rates of growth in Indiana.

In 2016, the annual per capita personal income for Whitley County residents was $40,731.

Per capita personal income is calculated as the total personal income of the residents of a geographic area divided by the resident population of the area. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis releases the data annually.

As a region, Northeast Indiana’s per capita personal income was $40,559 in 2016 — a $788-per-person increase — $613 million more than 2015.

“In 2010, northeast Indiana residents earned 80.4 percent of the national per capita personal income. For 2016, that rose to 82.4 percent for the 11-county region. From 2010 to 2016, northeast Indiana’s PCPI increased by more than 25 percent while the national measure went up only 22.3 percent in that same time frame. These numbers demonstrate the effectiveness of community leaders, working together through efforts of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, to increase per capita income to improve the economic vitality of the region,” said Rachel Blakeman, director at the Community Research Institute at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

Whitley County ranks fourth in the 11-county region of northeast Indiana, topped by Allen County ($42,633), Kosciusko County ($42,278) and Wabash County ($40,737).

“There is no question, we are making tremendous strides together as a region in confronting our most difficult constraints to the northeast Indiana economy,” said John Sampson, president and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.

“Despite annual challenges, this region’s employers continue to emerge as contenders in the global marketplace. We will not waver in our commitment to the priorities of Vision 2030 or working together as a region. We know what is most important, and we are determined to raise prosperity for the residents of northeast Indiana.”