RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — More than 5 million North Carolinians received checks worth an average of $2,401 during the latest round of federal stimulus, according to a CBS17.com analysis of data from the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Treasury.
The data from the third round of stimulus payments puts the state near the middle nationally in virtually every metric — and one expert at North Carolina State University says that could be evidence that those measures are working well here.
“Our state is an example of where these stimulus payments tended to be most effective,” said Nathan Goldman, an assistant professor of accounting at N.C. State’s Poole College of Management.
The federal government released data breaking down the third round of payments through June 3 both by state and by income level of its recipients.
Single tax filers making less than $75,000 per year and married couples making less than $150,000 were eligible for $1,400 per person, with those payments dropping above those income levels.
The goal: To get money into the hands of people who need it.
“People want to know, was this effective?” Goldman said. “Is this something that we should have been doing? Did it really help address some of the concerns? And I think one key piece of this answer is to understand who received the money.
“And that’s what these statistics, that’s what these new tables put out by IRS can help give us some answers to,” he added. “And I believe … North Carolinians really benefited from the stimulus payments.”
The data show 52 percent — or, more than half — of the funds during Round 3 went to households with income below $50,000. And households making less than $100,000 received 85 percent of the payment amounts.
North Carolina’s average payment amount ranks 24th in the nation — nearly $400 per check lower than Utah, which at $2,783 had the highest average payment. On average, that state also has the largest household size and payment amounts also varied based on the number of dependents.
A total of 5.25 million payments went to North Carolinians — or, roughly one for every two of the 10.5 million people who live in the state for a rate of 50.3 percent that ranks 21st nationally.
Those payouts totaled $12.6 million for an average of $1,208 per resident — ranking 25th in the nation.
“All else being equal, you would expect states with higher average incomes to have lower rebate amounts, and states with lower incomes — and North Carolina, I think, is a little above a little below the average, but not way below the average,” said Larry Zelenak, a law professor at Duke University and an expert on income and corporate taxes. “So you kind of expect to to see North Carolina someplace in the middle, and I guess that’s what we’re seeing.”
Each of the five states with the highest payments per resident ranks in the bottom 10 nationally in terms of median per capita income. Of the 10 states with the smallest payments per person, five are in the top 10 in that category. North Carolina ranks 19th in median per capita income.
“This means the phase-outs were among the most appropriate for a state like ours,” Goldman said.