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Income Inequality Grows in the United States

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has just published “Pulling Apart: A State-by-State Analysis of Income Trends.”

Among other facts presented: Over the last twenty years, the poorest fifth of families only gained $125 per year; the richest fifth of families gained $4,410 per year. That translates into an 18.9% increase in income versus 59.5%.

In most states, the gap between the highest-income families and poor and middle-income families grew significantly between the early 1980s and the early 2000s …

The five states with the largest income gap between the top and bottom fifths of families are New York, Texas, Tennessee, Arizona, and Florida. Generally, income gaps are larger in the Southeast and Southwest and smaller in the Midwest, Great Plains, and Mountain states …

Possible steps [for reversing this trend] include raising the state minimum wage, strengthening supports for low-income working families, and reforming the unemployment insurance system. In addition, states can pursue tax policies that partially offset the growing inequality of pre-tax incomes.

A full report (PDF), state fact sheets, and state data tables (Excel) are available for review.

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