U.S. Income Inequality Worsens, Widening To A New Gap

Kevin Mwanza
Written by Kevin Mwanza
income inequality
Income inequality among U.S. households widened to the largest gap in 50 years despite the U.S. economy’s consistent growth.

Income inequality among U.S. households widened to the largest gap in 50 years despite low unemployment and a decade of growth, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The federal agency said the gap between the richest and the poorest U.S. households was “significantly higher” in 2018 than in 2017, with states including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Texas, and Virginia registering the widest gaps.

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Income inequality gap widens

A key measure of wealth distribution jumped to 0.485 in 2018, the highest reading since the so-called Gini index was started in 1967. The gauge stood at 0.482 in 2017.

Most growth has gone to higher-income earners and the owners of financial instruments, said Timothy Smeeding, a professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, in a Market Insider interview.

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“Wages remain low, there is a lack of childcare for single-parent families … Work alone won’t solve poverty unless wages and earnings pick up substantially,” said Smeeding, who studies poverty and economic mobility.

“It still takes government aid for families with children and others who do not earn enough, despite working 40-plus hours a week.”

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