Examining the Income Inequality of Cities and Metro Areas

A rising tide doesn't necessarily lift all boats—even in a time of (mostly) decreasing income inequality at the city level.

February 15, 2018, 9:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Atlanta, Georgia, Downtown, Skyline, Dusk

Atlanta had the highest rates of income inequality of any U.S. city in 2016. | apple.white2010 / Flickr

A recent study from the Brookings Institution examines income inequality at the city and metropolitan area level around the country. The major findings of the study, explained by a post sharing the new study:

  • Among big cities, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. exhibited the highest rates of income inequality in 2016.
  • Levels of inequality in cities reflect broader income disparities in metropolitan areas.
  • More cities experienced declines in income inequality from 2014 to 2016 than saw increases. 
  • In contrast to the city pattern, increases in metropolitan income inequality outnumbered declines.
  • Some cities posted stunning increases in top incomes from 2014 to 2016.
  • Income trends at the top of the distribution in cities and metro areas had little relationship to trends at the bottom of the distribution from 2014 to 2016. I

As a follow up to the article presenting the findings of the new report, an article by Axios  presents the report's findings in a graphic format. Caitlin Owens writes the post and Chris Canipe creates a helpful pair of infographics to help illustrate the cities with the largest and smallest income gaps. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 in Brookings

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