Today we’re giving you a sneak peek at what you will see at our upcoming 18th Annual Greater Palm Springs Summit. We are delighted to host this preeminent event live once again on October 31, 9 am-11 am, at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert. We encourage you to attend when we traditionally reveal the annual economic report and forecast. The following graphs demonstrating comparative income characteristics of the Coachella Valley are prime examples of the invaluable data and analysis you will find at this celebrated gathering. And it’s on Halloween so we will be having some fun!

Too often, when reporting income data, we often look at only one indicator like average income. But remember, an average is calculated by adding the incomes of all separate households in a place and dividing that sum by the total number of households. If you have a small number of outlier households with very high incomes this can skew the average to an unrepresentative high. When we look at average income along with median income (half the households have incomes above the median, half below), as in the graph above, we learn more about the actual distribution of those incomes. Palm Springs is the closest of the cities to the valley’s average and median incomes.

Disposable income – income remaining after applicable taxes and fees are deducted – gives us a better sense of how much money a household can actually spend. With such varying tax structures, this helps us make better comparisons between places.

But of course, income is just an indicator of what one has earned over a specified period. In contrast, net worth – household assets minus debt – is accumulated wealth over time. Here we start to see a pronounced disparity between our wealthier and poorer communities. The median household net worth in Indian Wells is 55 times higher than that in Desert Hot Springs. And the average in Indian Wells is nearly 18 times higher than Coachella.

These regional disparities are also reinforced when comparing per capita incomes for the nine valley cities. Per capita income in Indian Wells is nearly 7 times as high as that in Coachella. Note the pronounced drop from Palm Springs to Cathedral City.