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The Unequal Cities of America

Richard Florida explores differing measures of inequality, considering both wage inequality and income inequality in American metropolitan cities.
March 6, 2012, 5am PST | Alesia Hsiao
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The issues of wage and income inequality has never been more pressing during this political season. The rise in globalization, new technologies and productivity has resulted in a shrinking middle class and a critical divide between high-paying, knowledge-based, skilled jobs and lower-wage, unskilled jobs.

The measure of wage inequality for the metro areas in the US is based on the Theil Index which compares the wages of lower skill service and manufacturing jobs to higher skill knowledge and professional jobs. The most unequal metro cities are Huntsville, Silicon Valley, College Station-Bryan, Boulder and Durham.

Florida writes that, "While wage inequality considers the differences between salaries only, this measure of income inequality compares all income, including rents, royalties, and dividends." Based on the 2010 American Community Survey, the Gini coefficient was used to measure income inequality; the larger metros of Bridgeport-Stamford, Greater New York and Miami and smaller metros like Naples, Gainesville, Vero Beach, and College Station made the list.

When taken together, "There's only a modest association between these two measures of inequality. In fact, wage inequality accounts for just 15 percent of the variation in income equality across metros."

Florida will examine the deeper relevance and causes of this information in a future post.

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Published on Monday, March 5, 2012 in The Atlantic Cities
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