New England Survey of Environmental Horticulture 2003

2003 Survey Incomes


Table 1. Incomes by state (reported on first line of each state, expanded on state total lines), state percent of region total, and expansion factors (below state names), by state and income category ($millions). Values also determined as percent increase over previous income, and mean midpoint of the range.
State <$1 $1-10  > $10  Total 2001 (% of region) Total 1998 (% of region) change '98-'01
Connecticut 20.394 41.0 60.7      
response: 7.5 x x        
state: 3.4 x          
total 520 308 61 889     
increase (18%)       1,009    
Mean total value       949 (23%) 855 (23%) +11%
Maine 7.7 19.1 0      
response: 5.3 x x        
state: 3.4 x          
total 139 101   240    
increase (15%)       331    
Mean total value       286 (7%) 288 (8%) -1%
Massachusetts 31.994 122.525 69.6      
response: 7.4 x x        
state: 3.5 x        
total 829 907 70 1,806    
increase (14%)       1,913    
Mean total value       1,860 (46%) 1,678 (46%) +11%
New Hampshire 14.874 30.720 12      
response: 4.9 x x        
state: 3.5 x          
expanded total 255 151 12 418    
increase (20%)       457    
Mean total value       438 (11%) 381 (10%) +15%
Rhode Island 7.265 25.775 0      
response: 6.6 x x        
state: 3.0 x          
total 144 170   314    
increase (23%)       343    
Mean total value       329 (8%) 279 (8%) +18%
Vermont 7.065 20.9 0      
response: 3.2 x x        
state: 3.6 x          
total 81 67   148     
increase (19%)       223    
Mean total value       186 (5%) 187 (5%) 0%
Region Total       4,042 3,668  +10%

Total income from those firms returning surveys, earning under $1 million, were multiplied by both the response and state multipliers (from the survey and response data tables) to estimate actual total income in Table 1. Total income from those returning surveys, earning $1 to 10 million, were multiplied by only the response multiplier. As the mail list had been checked by state specialists prior to mailing to try and ensure all those believed to earn over this were surveyed, the state multiplier was not needed. Those returning surveys, from this initially identified group believed to earn over $1 million, were assumed with this method to respond similarly to others returning surveys for each state, so the same multiplier was used. No multiplier was used for incomes over $10 million, assuming all in this category responded. In some states this may not be true, so figures may be conservative. This method using expansion factors was similar to the method used in a Florida survey (, only there values were expanded within industry type rather than income strata as in this survey.

Also reported is the state industry income as determined by the percent increase over the previous industry income. This percent was determined taking into account all reported income increases and income decreases for this survey. This method was similar to one used in a Texas survey (, only there with percent increases a result of sales tax revenues rather than those reported directly by surveyed respondents as in this survey.

The income values determined by both methods, represent an estimate of the range in which the true value falls, and which is represented by the mean midpoint of this range. Using both methods helps compensate for variance from each such as differing response rates for high income categories among states, and extrapolating the industry value from lower survey mailing numbers and returns than in the previous survey. That fewer firms responded in the top income categories may in particular explain decreases in income for Maine and Vermont over the 1998 to 2001 period.

Income figures may be conservative for a couple reasons. Since some in the highest category did not give an exact income, the low point or $10 million was used when in actuality the incomes would be higher. Also as mentioned in the data tables, only those earning over half their income from this industry were counted in this survey. This would exclude income from seasonal sales at many outlets such as convenience and hardware stores, roadside stands, farmers markets, and of course mass markets.

This industry and its performance is often related to the housing industry, with figures for new housing start and building permits shown in Table 2. Building permits may include more than just homes in each state depending on local laws. The income growth in New Hampshire may reflect the increase in housing units there (primarily southern New Hampshire) and parallels projected industry income. Discrepancies with Maine and Vermont may be due to conservative income estimates as mentioned above. Even with a decrease in housing units for other states and a 7% decrease for the region as a whole, and conservative estimates of state incomes, overall industry income for the region grew about 10% over the past three years. This rate is similar to 8.5% growth between 1997 and 2000 reported in a Florida survey for combined production, retail and landscape.

Table 2. New privately owned housing units, trends (U.S. Census Bureau) and building permit trends (
  privately owned housing units building permits
  1998 2001 change change
Connecticut 11,863 9,290 -22% -25%
Maine 6,280 6,492 +3% +9%
Massachusetts 19,254 17,034 -12% -5%
New Hampshire 5,771 6,624 +15% +7%
Rhode Island 2,642 2,407 -9% -1%
Vermont 2,198 2,747 +25% +7%
Region 48,008 44,594 -7% -8%

Per capita income for the latest three year period available shows similar changes to those of state incomes for the three year period of this survey. Exceptions are Vermont and Maine, possibly due to conservative income estimates as already mentioned. Higher income change for Rhode Island may be due in part to the fact this state has more sales out-of-state than other states. This is partly a result of its large wholesale nursery production industry. Per capita income changes in adjacent states therefore likely affect this state's industry income.

Table 3. Per capita income (Bureau of Economic Analysis) for states and the New England region (thousands of dollars, $000)
  1997 2000 change
Connecticut 37.1 40.7 9.7%
Maine 23.4 25.4 8.5%
Massachusetts 32.7 37.7 15.3%
New Hampshire 29.2 33.2 13.7%
Rhode Island 26.8 29.1 8.6%
Vermont 24.5 26.8 9.4%
Region 29.0 32.2 10.9%


Two of three other expenditures which may compete with consumer purchases in this industry declined between 1998 and 2000 for the Northeast. Per capita, food purchased away from home dropped from $2229 in 1998 to $2175 in 2000, or a decrease of 2%. Per capita money spent on household furnishings and equipment dropped from $1721 in 1998 to $1540 in 2000, or a decrease of 11%. Only per capita money spent on entertainment increased from 1998 to 2000, $1772 to $1915, or an increase of 8%.

If such trends continue in future surveys, it appears overall income in this industry is more closely aligned with per capita income, and money spent on entertainment, than on the housing industry and several other discretionary expenditures. Certain segments of the industry however, such as landscaping, may be more closely aligned with indicators such as of the housing industry.

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