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Report: Which American Cities Are the Most Unequal

According to Brookings, this research is intended to inform local debates over the minimum wage. Drawing on Census data, the report finds that astronomical income gains are still concentrated among the biggest cities.
March 28, 2015, 1pm PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Adam Axon

Despite tangible gains in many sectors of the economy, cities still face high levels of inequality. This report from Brookings uses U.S. Census data to examine the current state of unequal incomes on the municipal level. Some extracts from the findings include:

  • "Across the 50 largest cities, households in the 95th percentile of income earned 11.6 times as much as households at the 20th percentile, a considerably wider margin than the national average ratio of 9.3."
  • "Several cities witnessed dramatic growth in the incomes of their highest-earning households between 2012 and 2013. In 12 cities, incomes for the 95th percentile of households in 2013 exceeded those in 2012 by a statistically significant margin. Seattle topped the list with 15 percent growth in income among those households, equivalent to a $36,000 increase."
  • "About one in five of the nation’s largest cities posted significant income gains at the lower end of the distribution between 2012 and 2013. Jacksonville, San Francisco, Nashville, Tenn., Oklahoma City, and Kansas City, Mo. all posted double-digit increases in 20th-percentile incomes.
The article provides detailed charts and graphics, and concludes that gains near the top probably aren't doing enough to lift the bottom.
Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 in Brookings Institution
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