Skip to main content

Main Area

Main

How severe is income inequality in your state?

  • How severe is income inequality in your state?

    Income inequality has risen across the country since the 1970s, with the largest difference seen in dense cities and counties. In 2017, 82% of the wealth generated went to the richest 1% of the global population. The 3.7 billion poorest people saw no growth. In the United States, it takes a CEO a little more than one workday to earn what the average employee makes in a year.

    Income inequality varies globally, but it also differs among states. Using data from the U.S. Census American Community Survey collected between 2011 and 2016, Stacker compiled a list ranking each state—along with Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico—to show where income inequality was least and greatest. The survey uses the Gini Index, a statistical measure of income inequality that uses an index value from 0 to 1, where 0 indicates perfect equality (all households receive an equal share of income) and 1 indicates perfect inequality (only one person or group gets all wealth).

    Click through to see how each state compares.

     

    ALSO: Find out which states have the most progressive and regressive tax plans.

  • #52. Alaska

    - Gini Index estimate: 0.42
    - County with highest inequality: Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area (Gini Index estimate: 0.45)
    - County with lowest inequality: Skagway Municipality (Gini Index estimate: 0.33)
    - Number of counties: 29

    Alaska, which isn’t densely populated, has the lowest rate of income inequality. It showed a decrease in income disparity from 2015 to 2016.

     

  • #51. Wyoming

    - Gini Index estimate: 0.42
    - County with highest inequality: Albany County (Gini Index estimate: 0.50)
    - County with lowest inequality: Sublette County (Gini Index estimate: 0.33)
    - Number of counties: 23

    Jackson, Wyo., home to Teton County and the Jackson Hole ski area, in 2016 had the worst income inequality of any metro area in the United States. However, the overall state hasn’t seen much of a change since 2010.

     

  • #50. Utah

    - Gini Index estimate: 0.43
    - County with highest inequality: Summit County (Gini Index estimate: 0.48)
    - County with lowest inequality: Tooele County (Gini Index estimate: 0.36)
    - Number of counties: 29

    While Utah as a state has the third-lowest income inequality in the country, Summit Count's Park City has a higher rate than the national average. The city is home to a large ski resort, where issues like affordable housing for low-income residents or seasonal workers are often a problem.

     

  • #49. Hawaii

    - Gini Index estimate: 0.43
    - County with highest inequality: Hawaii County (Gini Index estimate: 0.46)
    - County with lowest inequality: Kalawao County (Gini Index estimate: 0.40)
    - Number of counties: 5

    Unions are powerful in Hawaii, which helps prevent some income disparity. While Hawaii has a smaller difference between the rich and the poor compared to other states, it’s still harder for those at the bottom to raise their wealth.

     

  • #48. New Hampshire

    - Gini Index estimate: 0.44
    - County with highest inequality: Grafton County (Gini Index estimate: 0.47)
    - County with lowest inequality: Sullivan County (Gini Index estimate: 0.41)
    - Number of counties: 10

    New Hampshire’s income inequality is toward the bottom of the list, with wide rates of wealth disparity recently narrowing in Boston.

     

  • #47. Iowa

    - Gini Index estimate: 0.44
    - County with highest inequality: Johnson County (Gini Index estimate: 0.49)
    - County with lowest inequality: Cedar County (Gini Index estimate: 0.37)
    - Number of counties: 99
    - Income disparity dropped slightly from 2015 to 2016 in Iowa, where rates were already below the national average.

  • #46. Vermont

    - Gini Index estimate: 0.44
    - County with highest inequality: Windsor County (Gini Index estimate: 0.47)
    - County with lowest inequality: Orange County (Gini Index estimate: 0.40)
    - Number of counties: 14

    Vermont showed a 4.06% decline in income inequality from 2015 to 2016. Earlier this year, Vermont voted to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024. Raising the minimum wage is one non-tax option to help reduce poverty and income inequality.

     

  • #45. Wisconsin

    - Gini Index estimate: 0.44
    - County with highest inequality: Ozaukee County (Gini Index estimate: 0.48)
    - County with lowest inequality: Calumet County (Gini Index estimate: 0.37)
    - Number of counties: 72

    A 2017 report showed that levels of income inequality in Wisconsin increased to rates unseen since the Great Depression. Low- and middle-income earners also pay more of their income to taxes than their wealthier counterparts.

  • #44. South Dakota

    - Gini Index estimate: 0.44
    - County with highest inequality: Campbell County (Gini Index estimate: 0.54)
    - County with lowest inequality: Hamlin County (Gini Index estimate: 0.38)
    - Number of counties: 66

    The income inequality rate for the state grew a little over 1% from 2015 to 2016, but it spiked 8.53% in Campbell County over the same time period.

  • #43. Idaho

    - Gini Index estimate: 0.44
    - County with highest inequality: Madison County (Gini Index estimate: 0.51)
    - County with lowest inequality: Power County (Gini Index estimate: 0.36)
    - Number of counties: 44

    The wealth gap in the Boise area widened by $44,400 to $170,000 from 2011 to 2016, putting it at #7 on Bloomberg’s top 10 cities with the fastest-growing wealth disparity. The gap grew by $31,000 on a national level.

2018 All rights reserved.