Thanks to these new maps, you can now definitively answer the question of where you sit in the country’s economic hierarchy. You might be more poor (or more rich!) than you thought.
Thanks to research from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a nonpartisan think tank, we now have an in-depth analysis of trends in income inequality in the United States from 1917 to 2012. One of the institute’s key findings was that since the economic recovery in 2009 the vast majority of income growth has gone to the top 1%. In 17 states, all income growth between 2009 and 2012 went to the top 1%.
In addition, between 1979 and 2007 the average income of the bottom 99% grew by 19%, compared to 200% growth for the top 1%.
New York and Connecticut are the two most unequal states, with the average 1%-er earning over 48 times what the rest of those states’ populations earn. West Virginia is the least unequal state with a still-huge income disparity of 16 to 1 on average.
“Every state and every region in the United States is going to have to grapple with the effects of rising inequality,” said Estelle Sommeiller, one of the authors of EPI’s report and a socio-economist at the Institute for Research in Economic and Social Sciences in Greater Paris, France. “Our study paints a picture of the top 1% in each state. While there are differences from the 1% nationally, no state has escaped the troubling growth of inequality.”
EPI’s website also has an interactive fact sheet that displays in-depth information state by state. On those fact sheets visitors can find statistics including what percentage of income growth the top 1% has snagged since 1979 and 2007 and how much income has grown for the top 1% and the bottom 99% between 2009 and 2012. (Bad news for New Yorkers: income for the bottom 99% has gone down since the economic recovery.)
“State leaders and policymakers need to realize that inequality is a problem everywhere. If states are not passing progressive taxes and raising revenue from top earners, they are missing out on a large and growing source of income,” said Mark Price, the report’s co-author and an economist at the Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.