20 Cities With the Widest Gap Between the Rich and Poor

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15. Staunton-Waynesboro, VA
> Gini coefficient:
0.504
> Median household income: $49,767
> Poverty rate: 11.4%
> Pct. earning more than $200,000: 3.6%

Making a minimum of about $167,700 annually, the highest earning 5% of households in Staunton control nearly 30% of the total income in the area. The lowest earning 20% of households make 3.1% of the area’s wealth, the same (income proportion) as the bottom earning 20% of U.S. households. However, the wealthiest households in the Staunton area control 54% of area income, slightly higher than the corresponding national figure of 51.4%. While Staunton has a higher relative number of high earners, it also has a lower than average poverty rate. Only 11.4% of area residents live in poverty compared to the 15.8% nationwide. Furthermore, only 8.9% of Staunton residents receive food stamp benefits, one of the lowest rates in the nation.

14. Athens-Clarke County, GA
> Gini coefficient:
0.505
> Median household income: $38,227
> Poverty rate: 28.6%
> Pct. earning more than $200,000: 2.6%

The Athens metropolitan area is one of the poorest urban areas in the country. Nearly 30% of the area’s roughly 200,000 residents live below the poverty line, the sixth highest poverty rate in the country. At least a fifth of households earn less than $15,000 per year. Even the wealthiest residents of the Georgia city are relatively less wealthy than the top earners in other metro areas. The wealthiest 5% of homes earn at least $158,606. Across the United States, the top 5% of earners have incomes of at least $200,000 on average. The poorest 20% of households still earned less than one-sixth of the income the top 20% of households earned.

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13. Port St. Lucie, FL
> Gini coefficient:
0.506
> Median household income: $45,322
> Poverty rate: 17.2%
> Pct. earning more than $200,000: 4.2%

The typical household in Port St. Lucie earns $45,322. The average income, however, is nearly $20,000 higher. The reason for that difference is the Florida community’s extremely high income inequality. One-twentieth of the region’s households account for over one-quarter of all the region’s income. The poorest 20% of households account for just 2.9% of Port St. Lucie’s total income. Unlike many of the extremely poor metropolitan areas with high income inequality, the region has a high homeownership rate. More than 70% of homes in the metro area are occupied by their owners.

12. Texarkana, TX-AR
> Gini coefficient:
0.507
> Median household income: $40,382
> Poverty rate: 21.4%
> Pct. earning more than $200,000: 2.7%

In Texarkana, the lowest earning 20% of households bring in just 2.9% of the city’s total income. At the other end of the income spectrum, the wealthiest 20% take home over 53% of the city’s total income. While income inequality is high in Texarkana, the city is disproportionately poor. The cost of living in the region is among the lowest in the nation, and at 21.4%, the poverty rate is significantly higher than the 15.8% national poverty rate. Additionally, the percentage of Texarkana households making more than $200,000 annually is nearly half the 5% portion of households across the entire country.

11. Monroe, LA
> Gini coefficient:
0.508
> Median household income: $37,536
> Poverty rate: 25.3%
> Pct. earning more than $200,000: 3.6%

The highest earning 20% of Monroe’s households earned 52.8% of the area’s total income. The income of the top 20% was more than seven times the income of the bottom earning 20% of households. Not only is there a wide income gap between the wealthy and poor, but Monroe is also home to some of the lowest incomes in the United States. The lowest earning 20% of households take home less than $12,121 a year, significantly less than the corresponding national figure of $21,433. Furthermore, over one-quarter of Monroe’s residents live in poverty — about 10 percentage points higher than the national poverty rate of 15.8%.

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10. Bloomington, IN
> Gini coefficient:
0.509
> Median household income: $42,085
> Poverty rate: 22.7%
> Pct. earning more than $200,000: 3.6%

Before taxes and transfers, income in Bloomington is distributed less evenly than in all but nine other metropolitan areas. Income inequality does not necessarily contribute to a higher level of poverty, but like most cities with the widest income gaps, Bloomington has a high poverty rate with nearly 23% of its residents living in poverty. This is well above the national poverty rate of 15.8%. Despite the sizable income gap, the area’s wealthiest residents are not especially wealthy compared to the wealthiest Americans. The wealthiest 20% of households report incomes of at least $90,484, versus the comparable national figure of $106,101. In contrast, Bloomington’s poorest 20% of households have incomes no greater than $14,175 compared to the national figure of $21,433.