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Gap between rich and poor grew in more than half of U.S. metros between 2018 and 2022

TUESDAY, JUN 11, 2024

Income inequality has remained flat in the United States over the last five years, according to a Social Explorer analysis of data from the American Community Survey. However, that doesn’t mean it’s stayed flat everywhere. The gap between rich and poor increased in 203 of 381 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). It’s measured by the Gini coefficient, a number between 0 and 1. (See our post, “Dreaming of Gini,” from April 12, 2024.)
A Gini of 0 means income is distributed equally among all households; a Gini of 1 indicates that one household receives all income. The U.S. Gini has remained at 0.48 since 2018. The highest Gini of 0.63 has been found by the World Bank in South Africa; the lowest, 0.232, was reported in the Slovak Republic.

In the United States, the Gini increased the most in the Vineland-Bridgeton metro area in southern New Jersey. Its Gini rose 10.5 percent, from 0.451 in 2018 to 0.499 in 2022. Among metro areas, it was trailed by:
● Lewiston, Idaho (0.461, +9.7 percent)
● Appleton, Wis. (0.437, +6.5 percent)
● Elkhart, Ind. (0.442, +5.7 percent)
● Pittsfield, Mass. (0.491, +5.7 percent)
The gap between rich and poor fell sharpest over the five-year period in these five U.S. metros:
● Oshkosh, Wis. (0.422, -10.6 percent)
● Valdosta, Ga. (0.493, -6.8 percent)
● Muncie, Ind. (0.448, -5.7 percent)
● Hot Springs, Ark. (0.461, -5.6 percent)
● Albany, Ore. (0.402, -5.5 percent)
The highest metro Gini for more than a decade have been found in:
● Bridgeport, Conn, where the gap between rich and poor rose 0.2 percent to 0.544 between 2018 and 2022.
● Naples, Fla. (0.531, +1.7 percent)
● Monroe, La. (0.512, +2.8 percent)
● Gainesville, Fla. (0.514, +0.8 percent)
● New York City (0.514, 0 percent).
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