Economic Snapshot | Inequality and Poverty

How unequal is your state?: The ratio between the average incomes of the top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent in each state

The outsized incomes of the top 1 percent are not constrained to one state or region. Income inequality is on the rise throughout the country. The map below shows the ratio between the average incomes of the top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent in each state in 2012. In both Connecticut and New York, the average incomes of the top 1 percent were more than 48 times those of the bottom 99 percent, reflecting the role that financial sector salaries in the New York metropolitan area play in inequality in the United States. However, income inequality is not unique to one region or sector of the economy. Even in the 10 states with the smallest income gaps, the top 1 percent earned between 14 and 19 times the income of the bottom 99 percent in 2012.

Between 1979 and 2007, the top 1 percent of taxpayers captured an increasing share of income in every state. Incomes at all levels declined as a result of the Great Recession, and income growth has been lopsided since the recovery began. From 2009 to 2012 top 1 percent incomes grew faster than the incomes of the bottom 99 percent in every state except West Virginia. In 39 states, the majority of income gains after the Great Recession accrued to top 1 percent. And in 17 of these states, the top 1 percent captured 100 percent of income growth. For further state-by-state analysis of inequality, see our latest report, The Increasingly Unequal States of America.


See related work on Wages, Incomes, and Wealth

See more work by Mark Price and Estelle Sommeiller