Special Report

States With the Widest Gap Between Rich and Poor

10. New Jersey
> Gini coefficient: 0.4800
> Median household income: $70,165 (3rd highest)
> Households earning $200,000+: 9.7% (the highest)
> Population living below poverty line: 11.4% (8th lowest)

The gap in incomes between the wealthiest and poorest residents was wider in New Jersey than in all but nine other states last year. Even with wide disparities in incomes, New Jersey is among the wealthiest states in the nation. A typical household made $70,165 in 2013, more than all but two other states. And only 5.7% of households earned less than $10,000, one of the lower percentages in the nation. Meanwhile, 9.7% of households earned $200,000 or more last year, the highest rate in the nation. Only 11.4% of New Jersey residents lived below the poverty line, versus nearly 16% of all Americans.

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9. Texas
> Gini coefficient: 0.4807
> Median household income: $51,704 (23rd highest)
> Households earning $200,000+: 5.1% (14th highest)
> Population living below poverty line: 17.5% (13th highest)

While a number of the states with the widest income gaps are, as a whole, quite wealthy, the median household income in Texas was $51,704 last year, slightly less than the national figure of $52,250. The state also had one of the higher poverty rates in the nation, with 17.5% of residents living below the poverty level last year. Nearly 6.5% of Texas’ hourly workers were paid at or below the minimum wage, one of the highest rates in the nation. Workers may be paid hourly wages less than the minimum wage if they work in jobs where tips are customary.

8. Illinois
> Gini coefficient: 0.4824
> Median household income: $56,210 (17th highest)
> Households earning $200,000+: 5.6% (10th highest)
> Population living below poverty line: 14.7% (25th lowest)

Roughly 5.6% of households in Illinois reported incomes of $200,000 or more last year, higher than in most other states. However, the top 5% of households accounted for 23.3% of all income in Illinois, a higher share than in all but five other states. Unemployment may have also contributed to inequality in the state. Although unemployment has been on the decline in recent months, last year 9.2% of Illinois workers were unemployed, the third highest rate in the nation. Further, 14.7% of people in the state lived below the poverty line in 2013 — lower, but not by much, than the U.S. overall.

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