Real Compensation Increase from 2000 to 2009: Miltary (84%) vs. Federal (37%) vs. Private (9%)
"Rapidly rising pay and benefits in the armed forces have lifted many military towns into the ranks of the nation's most affluent communities, a USA TODAY analysis finds.
The hometown of the Marines' Camp Lejeune — Jacksonville, N.C. — soared to the nation's 32nd-highest income per person in 2009 among the 366 U.S. metropolitan areas, according to Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) data. In 2000, it had ranked 287th. The Jacksonville metropolitan area, with a population of 173,064, had the top income per person of any North Carolina community in 2009. In 2000, it ranked 13th of 14 metro areas in the state.
The USA TODAY analysis finds that 16 of the 20 metro areas rising the fastest in the per-capita income rankings since 2000 had military bases or one nearby.
What's driving the income growth: pay and benefits in the military have grown faster than those in any other part of the economy. Soldiers, sailors and Marines received average compensation of $122,263 per person in 2009, up from $58,545 in 2000 (see chart above). Military compensation — an average of $70,168 in pay and $52,095 in benefits — includes the value of housing, medical care, pensions, hazardous-duty incentives, enlistment bonuses and combat pay in war zones. More than 300 U.S. servicemembers have died this year in Iraq and Afghanistan.
After adjusting for inflation, military compensation rose 84% from 2000 through 2009. Compensation grew 37% for federal civilian workers and 9% for private-sector employees, the BEA reports (see chart below)."