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Contra Costa ranks 5th in joint median income

County's 6% increase represents largest percentage gain in California

The statewide median income for all 2012 individual tax returns was $35,910, an increase of 3.5% over 2011's median income amount, according to a report issued this week by the California Franchise Tax Board.

For joint returns, the statewide median income was $70,938, an increase of 4.1% over 2011, the board's report showed.

"Median income" is the point where one half of the tax returns is 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 state income tax returns in 2012, reporting almost $1.5 trillion of adjusted gross income. This is an increase of 27.7% from the 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% over 2011.

Here are the top 10 counties by rank with their median income for 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%) of all 2012 income tax returns in California. It 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%, reported in Contra Costa County. For joint filed returns, the largest increase was in San Francisco County with a 7.7% increase.

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