State-Level Income Inequality

  • Income inequality last year rose in 15 states, By Niraj Chokshi, September 18, 2014, Washington Post: “The nation became more unequal last year. The Gini Index, a measure of income inequality, was higher, in a statistically significant way, in 2013 than in 2012, rising from 0.476 to 0.481, according to a new Census Bureau report. A score of zero suggests perfect equality where all households have equal income, while a score of one suggests perfect inequality, where one household has it all, and the rest have none. Alaska was the only state to see its Gini Index score decline…”
  • Income inequality is hurting state tax revenue, report says, By Josh Boak (AP), September 15, 2014, Washington Post: “Income inequality is taking a toll on state governments. The widening gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else has been matched by a slowdown in state tax revenue, according to a report being released Monday by Standard & Poor’s. Even as income has accelerated for the affluent, it has barely kept pace with inflation for most other people. That trend can mean a double whammy for states: The wealthy often manage to shield much of their income from taxes. And they tend to spend less of it than others do, thereby limiting sales tax revenue. As the growth of tax revenue has slowed, states have faced tensions over whether to raise taxes or cut spending to balance their budgets as required by law…”
  • Income inequality: States struggle to balance budgets as rich-poor gap widens, By Mark Trumbull, September 15, 2014, Christian Science Monitor: “A widening gap in incomes between the rich and the middle class may be hitting US states where it hurts – making it harder for them to raise the tax revenue they need for balancing their budgets. This conclusion, reached in a report released Monday by Standard & Poor’s, comes at a time when states across America are still struggling to rebuild their revenue streams more than five years after the end of a historically deep recession…”

Inequality and Poverty – Cross-National

How the U.S. compares on income inequality and poverty, By Elizabeth Shell, June 19, 2014, PBS Newshour: “There’s new data on income inequality out from the OECD Thursday, so we thought we’d take a look to see how the U.S. compares against the group’s 33 other countries — and its upcoming World Cup matches (more on that in a bit). When we look at income, the U.S. has had a wider gap — meaning less equal distribution of income — than the OECD average for at least the past 30 years. The data also shows that lower-income households across the OECD were hit harder by the financial crisis — the poor either lost more during the crisis or benefited less from the recovery than did their higher-income neighbors. While real household income hasn’t changed much (stagnated) across the 34 member countries, young adults have been hit the hardest since the financial crisis. . .”

Income Inequality

Where income inequality looms largest — in one map, By Aaron Blake, June 18, 2014, Washington Post: “Democrats and the White House have made income inequality a focal point of their legislative agenda in Washington, D.C. So where would that have the biggest effect? Where is income the most unequal/inequal? Income inequality is actually most pronounced in red states — particularly the American South. While Manhattan features the United States’ most unequal incomes, six of the 10 most unequal counties in the United States are in the South, according to a Pew study. . .”

Income Inequality

The Politics of Income Inequalityby Eduardo Porter, May 13, 2014, New York Times: “The years from the late 19th and early 20th centuries were not the most egalitarian in American history. Robber barons roamed the economy, living off lavish rents generated by powerful cartels and industrial monopolies. The richest 1 percent of Americans reaped nearly one in five dollars generated by the economy and amassed almost half its wealth; at the other end of the scale, wage earners lost ground to inflation. It was the era of the Haymarket riots and Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle.” Workers staged 1,500 strikes in 1886 alone. Ultimately, though, the disparities in wealth. . .”