Up Front

3 Things We Can Learn about Itemized Deductions from a Map

Benjamin H. Harris

Our interactive map of itemized tax deductions in your county looks at average itemized deductions, in dollars and as share of taxpayers who itemize, at the county level nationwide.* Here are three main takeaways from the map:

1. The share of taxpayers who itemize varies by region

Counties located to the west of the Rocky Mountains and along the East Coast tend to have higher rates of itemization relative to those in the South or Midwest. Counties located near Atlanta, Chicago, and Minneapolis are notable exceptions.

2. The itemized deduction map looks similar to the map of housing prices

The map of itemized deductions largely follows the map of home prices in the United States. The connection between home prices and itemized deductions occurs through the mortgage interest deduction, which is among the top two largest itemized deductions. Since more expensive homes tend to call for larger mortgages, high-priced homes can lead to greater use of itemized deductions, all else equal.

3. There is a great deal of variation in the share of taxpayers claiming itemized deductions

Variation in income, home prices, and state and local taxes leads to variation in itemization rates. As a result, some counties have low rates of itemizing, while others have much higher rates. Approximately one out of every four counties saw less than 15 percent of taxpayers itemizing, while another one out of every four counties had rates of 30 percent or higher.

See the full set of the tax maps here »

*Data are from 2007.