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University of Wisconsin–Madison
Poverty-related issues in the news, from the Institute for Research on Poverty

Tag: Income inequality

Global Inequality

  • Report: America’s income inequality is on par with Russia’s, December 15, 2017, CBS News: “The lopsided fortunes of America’s richest and poorest citizens are now on par with Russia’s after three decades of rising income inequality, according to a new report from economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez…”
  • U.S. lawmakers are redistributing income from the poor to the rich, according to massive new study, By Christopher Ingraham, December 15, 2017, Washington Post: “Back in 1980, the bottom 50 percent of wage-earners in the United States earned about 21 percent of all income in the country — nearly twice as much as the share of income (11 percent) earned by the top 1 percent of Americans. But today, according to a massive new study on global inequality, those numbers have nearly reversed: The bottom 50 percent take in only 13 percent of the income pie, while the top 1 percent grab over 20 percent of the country’s income…”

Income Inequality Among Retirees

For many older Americans, the rat race is over. But the inequality isn’t., By Peter Whoriskey, October 18, 2017, Washington Post: “While the rat race ends with retirement, one of its principal features extends well past a person’s last day of work. Income inequality in the United States spills over from the job into the last decades of life, according to a new survey that ranks the differences among U.S. retirees as among the most extreme in the 35-country comparison. The report being issued Wednesday by the OECD, or Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, reports levels of inequality in a survey of member countries…”

US Income Gap

A bigger economic pie, but a smaller slice for half of the U.S., By Patricia Cohen, December 6, 2016, New York Times: “Even with all the setbacks from recessions, burst bubbles and vanishing industries, the United States has still pumped out breathtaking riches over the last three and half decades.  The real economy more than doubled in size; the government now uses a substantial share of that bounty to hand over as much as $5 trillion to help working families, older people, disabled and unemployed people pay for a home, visit a doctor and put their children through school.  Yet for half of all Americans, their share of the total economic pie has shrunk significantly, new research has found…”

Income Inequality – Boston, MA

Half of city residents make less than $35,000 a year, study says, By Katie Johnson, March 15, 2016, Boston Globe: “Boston is a city of haves and have-nots, and a new study by the Boston Redevelopment Authority quantifies the growing divide, portraying the trend in stark numbers that show few benefits from the economic boom going to those near the bottom of the income scale.  Despite much attention given to high-paying jobs in technology, biotechnology, and finance, nearly half of Boston residents make less than $35,000 a year, the study shows. Incomes, when adjusted for inflation, have not risen for such workers for three decades…”

Income Inequality in US Cities

  • Income gap widens as poor lose ground in recession recovery: report, Associated Press, January 14, 2016, NBC News: “The income gap afflicting major U.S. cities goes beyond the problem of rising paychecks for those at the top: Pay has plummeted for those at the bottom.  Many of the poorest households still earn just a fraction of what they made before the Great Recession began in late 2007. Even as the recovery gained momentum in 2014 with otherwise robust job growth, incomes for the bottom 20 percent slid in New York City, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Washington and St. Louis, according to an analysis of Census data released Thursday by the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank…”
  • Boston has greatest income inequality of big U.S. cities, study finds, By Dan Glaun, January 15, 2016, MassLive: “Boston has the highest income inequality of any large city in the United States, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution. In 2014, Boston’s inequality topped other Northeastern cities like Providence, New York and New Haven, who also cracked the top ten, according to the report. When overall metro areas were ranked — adding nearby communities like Cambridge and Newton — Boston dropped to sixth overall, behind the Bridgeport, Conn. and New York City regions…”

Report on Opportunity Gap – Orange County, CA

Less for many: ‘Opportunity gap’, income disparity, poverty grows in Orange County, By Margot Roosevelt, August 7, 2015, Orange County Register: “Orange County poverty is growing dramatically, along with income inequality, homelessness and overcrowded housing, according to a comprehensive survey by government agencies and charitable organizations. The annual Orange County Community Indicators report, released this week, lays out in 52 pages of stark detail the worsening plight of a growing portion of local families. The result: an ‘opportunity gap,’ seen in ‘abundant supports and resources for the children of higher-income families and stalled or declining social mobility for the children of lower-income and less educated families,’ the report says…”

Low-Wage Workers – California

California’s low-wage workers earn less than in 1979, study shows, By Chris Kirkham, April 30, 2015, Los Angeles Times: “California’s low-wage workers are older and more educated than they were three decades ago — but they earn less, according to new research from UC Berkeley.  The study, released Thursday, documented the extensive growth of income inequality in California since the late 1970s. The researchers’ data showed that California workers at the lowest end of the pay scale have seen significant declines in their earnings over the last three decades, after adjusting for inflation. Workers in the highest income brackets, meanwhile, have seen enormous gains…”

Income Inequality and Health

  • How high income inequality is hurting America’s health, By Aimee Picchi, April 2, 2015, CBS News: “The widening divide between rich and poor is impacting more than the bank accounts of the have and have-nots. It’s also putting measurable stress on Americans’ health.  Residents of communities with high levels of income inequality are more likely to suffer from negative health outcomes than those who live in more equal counties, according to recent research from County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation…”
  • Income inequality: It’s also bad for your health, By Margot Sanger-Katz, March 30, 2015, New York Times: “We know that living in a poor community makes you less likely to live a long life. New evidence suggests that living in a community with high income inequality also seems to be bad for your health.  A study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute examined a series of risk factors that help explain the health (or sickness) of counties in the United States. In addition to the suspects you might expect — a high smoking rate, a lot of violent crime — the researchers found that people in unequal communities were more likely to die before the age of 75 than people in more equal communities, even if the average incomes were the same…”

Racial Income Gap

  • Minority families struggle to break out of poverty, study finds, By Tiffany Hsu, March 17, 2015, Los Angeles Times: “A generation from now, minority workers are expected to make up the majority of the American workforce. But today, their families are far more likely to be poor than their white counterparts, according to an analysis of Census data released Monday.  The study, by the Working Poor Families Project, showed that working poor families are three times more likely to be headed by a minority parent…”
  • Black and Latino working families are twice as likely as others to be low-income, By Michael A. Fletcher, March 16, 2015, Washington Post: “As the U.S. economy has picked up again after the recession, it’s become clear that some Americans are getting a bigger share of the recovery than others.  A new report released Monday by the Working Families Project, a national initiative that pushes state governments to adopt family friendly policies, shows that black and Hispanic working families are twice as likely as those headed by whites and Asians to be poor or low-income—a gap that has widened since the recession…”
  • Working Poor Families Project report highlights more disparities for Wisconsin minorities, By Pat Schneider, March 17, 2015, Capital Times: “Another report is delineating a stark racial and ethnic divide in Wisconsin, this one focusing on low-income working families. And without significant policy changes, the gap will continue to grow, affecting the long-term vitality of the economy, researchers predict.  The new report by the Working Poor Families Projectfound that  61 percent of minority working families in the state are low-income, compared to 22 percent of white working families who are low-income. Some 64 percent of all black working families fall into the low-income category, as do 72 percent of all Latino working families…”

Income Gap – Florida

Income gap in Florida among highest in U.S., By Ledyard King, January 29, 2015, Florida Today: “Few states reflect the growing gap between the rich and not-so-rich as much as Florida, two studies released this week show. The wealthiest 1 percent of Floridians saw their incomes grow nearly 40 percent between 2009, when the Great Recession officially ended, and 2012, according to one analysis by the Economic Policy Institute. The analysis by the progressive Washington think tank showed that over the same period, other state residents saw their incomes decline an average 7.1 percent…”

US Wealth Gap

  • U.S. wealth gap is widest in at least 30 years, study finds, By Patricia Cohen, December 17, 2014, New York Times: “The wealthy are getting wealthier. As for everyone else, no such luck. A report released on Wednesday by the Pew Research Center found that the wealth gap between the country’s top 20 percent of earners and the rest of America had stretched to its widest point in at least three decades. Last year, the median net worth of upper-income families reached $639,400, nearly seven times as much of those in the middle, and nearly 70 times the level of those at the bottom of the income ladder…”
  • Wealth gap in America widens to record level, report says, By Don Lee, December 17, 2014, Los Angeles Times: “The wealth gap between middle- and upper-income households has widened to the highest level on record, says a new report. Using the latest Federal Reserve data, the Pew Research Center said Wednesday that the median wealth for high-income families was $639,400 last year — up 7% from three years earlier on an inflation-adjusted basis. For middle-income families, the median wealth — that is, assets minus debts — stood at $96,500 last year, unchanged from 2010. The result is that the typical wealth of the nation’s upper-income households last year was nearly seven times that of middle-class ones…”

Skills Gap and Inequality

Economist: Skills, tech gap can’t explain inequality, By Pedro Nicolaci Da Costa, October 20, 2014, Wall Street Journal: “Gaps in educational achievement and shifts in technology, often cited as key reasons for widening income and wealth inequality, do very little to explain the trend, said Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank in Washington. Speaking Saturday at a conference on ‘Equality of Economic Opportunity’ hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Mr. Mishel criticized the event’s narrow focus on local actions to reduce inequality when other possible approaches lie in the realm of broader economic policy…”

Income Gap by Age – Canada

  • Income gap grows between young and old: Report, By Dana Flavelle, September 23, 2014, Toronto Star: “Canada’s income gap is growing — not just between rich and poor, but between young and old, a report by the Conference Board of Canada has found. Older Canadians now earn 64 per cent more after tax than younger workers. That’s up from a 47 per cent gap nearly three decades ago, the study released Tuesday found. The report, called The Bucks Stop Here: Trends in Income Inequality between Generations, confirms what author David Stewart-Patterson says he suspected…”
  • Age, not gender, is the new income divide in Canada, study finds, By Lee-Anne Goodman, September 23, 2014, Financial Post: “Age, not gender, is increasingly at the heart of income inequality in Canada, says a new study that warns economic growth and social stability will be at risk if companies don’t start paying better wages. The Conference Board of Canada findings suggest younger workers in Canada are making less money relative to their elders regardless of whether they’re male or female, individuals or couples, and both before and after tax…”

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…”

Middle-Class Income by County

Where the middle class is most unequal, By Tami Luhby, September 15, 2014, CNN Money: “Virginia is the most unequal when it comes to comparing median income by county. Loudoun, a wealthy county near Washington D.C., has four times the median income of Buchanan, a struggling county in the southwestern portion of the state. Home to Washington Dulles International Airport, Loudoun is one of the fastest growing counties in Virginia. Its population has surged 12% to nearly 350,000 between 2010 and 2013, compared to a 3% growth rate for the rest of the state…”

Inequality and the Education System

A simple equation: more education = more income, By Eduardo Porter, September 10, 2014, New York Times: “Imagine if the United States government taxed the nation’s one-percenters so that their post-tax share of the nation’s income remained at 10 percent, roughly where it was in 1979. If the excess money were distributed equally among the rest of the population, in 2012 every family below that very top tier would have gotten a $7,105 check. This is hardly trivial money. But it pales compared to the gap between the wages of a family of two college graduates and a family of high school graduates. Between 1979 and 2012, that gap grew by some $30,000, after inflation…”

Income and Wage Gaps

  • Jobs coming back post-recession, but with much lower pay, study says, By Kathy Bergen, August 11, 2014, Chicago Tribune: “The U.S. has regained the 8.7 million jobs lost in the recession, but the average wage has dropped 23 percent, according to a U.S. Conference of Mayors study released today. The report, ‘U.S. Metro Economies: Income and Wage Gaps Across the U.S.,’ also found a widening income gap between the rich and poor, with the highest earning 20 percent of households gaining the most. Chicago mirrored the national trend…”
  • Lower-paying jobs dominate economic recovery, study finds, By Chris Kirkham, August 11, 2014, Los Angeles Times: “The U.S. economy earlier this year recovered all the jobs lost during the recession, but those new jobs pay an average of 23% less than the ones lost in the downturn, according to an analysis released Monday by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Job losses in the higher-paying manufacturing and construction sectors were largely replaced by jobs in lower-wage industries, including hospitality and healthcare, the report said…”

Income Inequality

Income inequality and the ills behind it, By Eduardo Porter, July 29, 2014, New York Times: “Is it time to stop obsessing about inequality? Perhaps it was President Obama’s speech last December, calling the nation’s vast income gap ‘the defining challenge of our time.’ The American publication of the French economist Thomas Piketty’s blockbuster ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’ must have helped. Whatever the reason, suddenly inequality seems to be not only at the top of the liberal agenda, but in the thoughts of concerned American voters. Yet amid the denunciations of inequity as the major evil of our era, persistent voices — mostly but not exclusively from the political right — have been nibbling away at the concern over distribution . . .”

Income Inequality and the Middle Class

With Democrats split on inequality issues, Obama shifts talk away from income gap, By Zachary Goldfarb, July 4, 2014, Washington Post: “After making fighting income inequality an early focus of his second term, President Obama has largely abandoned talk of the subject this election year in a move that highlights the emerging debate within the Democratic Party over economic populism and its limits. During the first half of this year, Obama shifted from income inequality to the more politically palatable theme of lifting the middle class, focusing on issues such as the minimum wage and the gender pay gap that are thought to resonate with a broader group of voters. The pivot is striking for a president who identified inequality as one of his top concerns after his reelection, calling it “a fundamental threat to the American Dream. . .”