The region is now at a crossroads. It is in the midst of an economic transition from its former manufacturing based economy to one that relies heavily on services. Today, this transition can be seen in the make-up of the region’s economic base: manufacturing, information, and healthcare and social assistance.
Between 1998 and 2008 the median nominal household income for the region grew from $64,095 to $70, 637. Although these wages are well above the state median of $68,411 and the national median, $52,175, purchasing power for the average resident declined during that period.
Costs of living vary greatly throughout the area. In New Britain costs of living are 8.7% less than the national average but in Burlington they are nearly 30% higher. Although these statistics represent the extremes, the geographical wealth distribution mirrors these trends. The region’s suburban and rural communities have the highest concentrations of wealth, while city centers are generally poorest.
The region has fared well relative to the nation but slightly worse than the state since the 2008 economic downturn. This can be seen by the fact that, in 2009, 9.6% residents were below the poverty line, less than the national average. Similarly, Region-wide unemployment is lower than the national average but slightly higher than the state average.