Ten States Where Income Inequality Has Soared

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10. New York
> Share of growth captured by the 1%: 67.6%
> Real income growth 1979-2007: 60.5% (4th highest)
> Income growth, bottom 99%: 22.2% (22nd highest)
> Income growth, top 1%: 355.1% (3rd highest)

Since 1979, the top 1% of earners have raced ahead of other workers in the state. The average income of the top 1% soared by 355.1% between 1979 and 2007, and it accounted for 67.6% of the total income increase. Further, in the wake of the financial crisis, the average income of the bottom 99% fell by 1% between 2009 and 2011, while the average income of the top 1% rose by 10.7%. The wealthiest 1% earned, on average, 40.5 times the income of the bottom 99% in 2011, more than in all other states except for Connecticut.

9. Florida
> Share of growth captured by the 1%: 68.9%.
> Real income growth 1979-2007: 38.8% (16th highest)
> Income growth, bottom 99%: 13.8% (18th least)
> Income growth, top 1%: 218.8% (17th highest)

Florida’s top 1% captured 68.9% of the state’s average income increase between 1979 and 2007. The divide between the wealthiest percentile and the rest of the population grew even wider between 2009 and 2011, as the income of the top earners rose by 9.2%, while the income of the bottom 99% barely grew at all. The state’s top 1% earned an average of $1.14 million in 2011, while the bottom 99% earned an average of just $35,393 that year. Further increasing the divide between the wealthy and the rest of the state could be the loss of jobs in Florida since 2008, especially in the construction industry.

8. Hawaii
> Share of growth captured by the 1%: 70.9%
> Real income growth 1979-2007: 12.4% (4th least)
> Income growth, bottom 99%: 3.9% (7th least)
> Income growth, top 1%: 118.0% (9th least)

Real incomes in Hawaii rose an average of just 12.4% between 1979 and 2007, barely one-third of the U.S. growth rate of 36.9% over that time and among the lowest in the nation. Yet for most residents, real income growth was not even as high as that. The average income of the bottom 99% of earners rose just 3.9% over those 28 years. By contrast, the average income of the top 1% of Hawaiian earners more than doubled in those years. The state’s inequality has receded to some degree since then, as the average income of the top 1% declined by 12.3% between 2009 and 2011. At the end of that three-year period, the top 1% earned 12.1 times what the bottom 99% did on average, the lowest such ratio in the nation. The state’s Gini coefficient — which quantifies inequality — was also one of the lowest in the nation in 2012.

7. New Mexico
> Share of growth captured by the 1%: 72.6%
> Real income growth 1979-2007: 14.0% (7th least)
> Income growth, bottom 99%: 4.2% (8th least)
> Income growth, top 1%: 119.3% (11th least)

Nearly 73% of all income growth in New Mexico between 1979 and 2007 was captured by the top 1% of earners. However, the average real income of that top 1% slipped slightly between 2009 and 2011. Also, the difference between average incomes of the top 1% and bottom 99% was not as large as in most states. Despite the relatively small income disparity, a large percentage of state residents were especially poor. In 2012, 20.8% of the population lived below the poverty line, up significantly from 17.1% in 2008. Additionally, 7.6% of households had incomes of $10,000 or less in 2012. Both percentages were among the highest in the nation. The state has also had weak GDP growth in recent years, underperforming the national growth rate in each year between 2010 and 2012.

6. Oregon
> Share of growth captured by the 1%: 81.8%
> Real income growth 1979-2007: 13.5% (6th least)
> Income growth, bottom 99%: 2.7% (5th least)
> Income growth, top 1%: 127.2% (15th least)

Average income growth in Oregon was relatively low between 1979 and 2007, while the divide between the state’s top and bottom earners grew wider during that time. Average real income increased by 13.5% in the state between 1979 and 2007, the fifth lowest rate in the country. And the top 1% in the state accounted for 81% of that income growth during those years. In recent years, the income of the bottom 99% of Oregon earners may have benefited from the addition of 6,500 high-tech jobs between 2009 and 2013 — the average annual salary in high-tech manufacturing approached $100,000 as of last year. Much of the state’s population, however, continued to struggle. As of 2012, 20.1% of the state’s households received food stamps, the highest rate in the United States.