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Income inequality widens in all 50 states

A new report finds that lopsided income growth is happening across the nation, but the gap between the top earners and everyone else is substantially wider in several states.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 4, 2014 2:50PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyAverage real income in the U.S. grew by more than a third between 1979 and 2007. That's great news for Americans, right?

Unfortunately, no. Not all Americans, anyway.

Wealthy couple © Digital Vision/Getty ImagesA new report from the Economic Policy Institute shows that all 50 states have experienced lopsided income growth in recent decades. In fact, between 1979 and 2007, the top 1 percent of U.S. taxpayers took home nearly 54 percent of the total increase in income.

To put it another way, while the bottom 99 percent of earners experienced an 18.9 percent average growth in income, the income of the top 1 percent grew more than 10 times that much -- a whopping 200.5 percent increase.

Here are some other key findings from the report:

  • Between 1979 and 2007, the average income increased only for the top 1 percent in Alaska, Nevada, Michigan and Wyoming. The income of the bottom 99 percent actually dropped. In 15 other states, the top 1 percent captured 50 to 84 percent of all income growth.

  • Incomes at all levels dropped during the Great Recession, but income inequality soared as the economy stabilized in 2009. "Only the top 1 percent gained as the economy recovered," the report said.
  • In 2011, New York and Connecticut had the biggest income gaps between the top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent. The top earners in both states make 40 times the average income of the bottom 99 percent. 

The report says the financial sector helps to fuel rising income inequality. Four of the 10 states with the steepest rise in incomes among the 1 percent between 1979 and 2007 had big financial sectors, including New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Illinois.

However, in an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Mark Price, co-author of the study and a labor economist at the Keystone Research Center, said that income inequality is pervasive across the country.

"It's not just a story of the financial markets in New York City," Price said. "Over time, that (top) group in each state is accruing an increasingly larger share of the growth in income."

24/7 Wall St. used the EPI report to help determine the 10 states where income inequality has increased the most. Here are the top five:

  1. Alaska
  2. Nevada
  3. Wyoming
  4. Michigan
  5. Arizona

We've all heard the saying: The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

How are the top 1 percent doing in your state, compared with the 99 percent? Click here to find out, then share your thoughts below.

More on Money Talks News:

Mar 4, 2014 4:09PM
The more socialist we become the less well average people will do.
Mar 4, 2014 3:48PM
and this is surprising? As the Government continually tries to coddle people from cradle to grave with new entitlement programs there is little incentive for the bottom of the food chain to be successful. They have become content after generations of hand feeding by liberals in our government to get votes. They don't understand that democrats, supposedly their saviors, are really their worst enemy. Lets teach them to fish not give them one.
Mar 4, 2014 4:19PM

Well if we would have attempted a jobs bill in 2009/2010 maybe we could have fixed a part of healthcare. Or, if we would have fixed illegal immigrants from taking construction jobs we could fix jobs and healthcare.. Funny how that all seems to be tied together..


The 35 year old elephant in the room is the advent of cheap labor in the construction industry. When I was a teenager, I went from fast food to construction as a way to get above the poverty line.. Learned to run equipment. Then when in the Navy. Came back out after 4 years and resume construction. During the early 80's, it became clear that cheap labor was being used in place of hard working American's.. Thank goodness I had my GI bill and went back to school!! Supposedly, that was to be addressed in 86'/87' when we had our first big MASS Amnesty. the promise was, we will fix the boarder, we will fix labor.. Didn't happen. So when the Great Recession came, we could not fall back on construction jobs as they did for the Great Depression..


The rate at which our young men, Black,White,Hispanic (Legal),Korean, Japanese, etc etc are having to endure unemployment (+21%) should be an indication that jobs and immigration need to be addressed in order to bring back good paying jobs for these young men..

Mar 4, 2014 4:20PM
Irony: The left always spouts off about income inequality and blames the GOP but they have increased it dramatically under the Obama administration.
Mar 4, 2014 4:01PM
When there is a shortage of highly skilled workers and an excess of unskilled workers, those at the top get much bigger increases as companies try to attract the workers they need.  There also needs to be a larger increase for skilled workers as it costs more to acquire those skills.  When only 80% of younger people can manage to graduate from high school, 20% are not even worth hiring.
Mar 4, 2014 4:04PM
If there were more good JOBS available there wouldn't be so much talk about income inequality!  The real unemployment and underemployment numbers are much higher than we are led to believe.  

Obamacare is going to be one of the biggest income and job killers out there.  More full time jobs are going to be reduced to part time and more people are going to struggle to pay their ever increasing premiums, leading to more and more "income inequality":.  

Mar 4, 2014 4:24PM
You can only fight poverty with education and a stronge democracy.  Lazy people will never be in the top 1%.  Only people who work hard and smart.
Mar 4, 2014 4:09PM
does the top one percent prevent me from making money? Nope.  But if the government keeps talking about them the bottom feeders will get more and more angry and demand their fair share of the one per centers money.  I don't care about the other people in America.   I care  about me.  Obama keeps trying to convince the losers that the rich hold them down.  That's called class warfare.  So, articles like this, which by the way could have been written pretty much the same way 100 years ago, are supposed to anger the bottom dwellers when infact most people who have worked hard, educated themselves, and done better than average don't give a crap about uber winners. 
Mar 4, 2014 4:07PM
So people that work and save and pay taxes are doing well..., and bums, loafers, and welfare sponges aren't.  Why is this a bad thing?
Mar 4, 2014 4:11PM
Wow, you couldn't see this coming when voting for Obama. There will always be an income gap between working people and welfare riders. Hopefully, people will get smarter in the next election since welfare will run out.
Mar 4, 2014 4:14PM
So lets say what MSNBC propagandist cant or will not.Obama has been president for 5 years .Under his leadership the income gap has grown each year.The democrats are trying to win the house and senate by saying they will fix the income gap by taking rich workers money and giving it to the people that dont work or dont make very much.MSNBC cant get these talking points out fast enough to promote their socialist agenda. The American people still vote for democrats and believe anything MSNBC promotes ????????
Mar 4, 2014 4:11PM
Lazy asses waiting on handouts, and administration killing the economy.
Mar 4, 2014 4:08PM
if you don't have out of wedlock children work several jobs at one tin pay for your own college ...get a think job and work your **** off you wont have a problem with inequality ...i did it it worked , I still had time to wear the uniform ,go to ranger school , have 3 children ,pay for their educations , weddings etc... and all the time being excoriated by the left and robbed buy the tax man....Get off your **** and go to work.
Mar 4, 2014 4:24PM
I really enjoyed my lunch today at McDonalds. I had the Obama Meal. I placed my order, and the person behind me paid for it.
Mar 4, 2014 4:52PM

Ant and Grasshopper:

The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving. CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast and label the ant as the greedy 1%. Chris Matthews asks, “How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?” Then he says the Republicans caused it and they just want the Grasshopper to die! Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, 'It's Not Easy Being Green...'Occupy the Anthill stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the above so called news stations film the SEIU and ACORN Yelling "No Justice, No Peace" followed by them singing, ‘We shall overcome’, ‘Imagine’ and ‘Kumbaya’. Then Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jesse Jackson and Al "Not So" Sharpton have the group kneel down to pray for the grasshopper's sake, while they vilify the ant and say his selfishness was the result of racism and Income Inequality. President Obama condemns the ant and blames President Bush 43, Bush 41, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope, Fox News, ATM's, The Tsunami In Japan, Global Warming, The Tea Party, Big Banks, Private Jet Owners, Wall Street Greed, The Arab Spring, The BP Oil Spill and The Worse Economy Since the Great Depression for the grasshopper's plight.. Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid exclaim in interviews with Bill Maher and Rachel Maddcow that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share and then pass a 2700 page bill called GrasshopperCare that no one reads before it becomes law. Finally, the EEOC drafts a 4000 page Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer that will heavily regulate the ant’s activities. The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar and given to the grasshopper. The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn't maintain it. The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again. The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous and peaceful, neighborhood. The entire Nation collapses, taking the rest of the free world with it.

Knight's Templar 777

Mar 4, 2014 4:20PM
Another interesting fact is that among the top 400 people with net worths over 1 billion dollars just under 1/3 of them started in the 1% category.  In other words they were there because of who they were or who they married not what they had done.  Meaning they inherited their wealth.

Many others came for affluent parents or family wealth and had every opportunity to reach the 1%, ie
good colleges and a good start in life.

How many of the 99% started that way.

Mar 4, 2014 3:59PM
not sure why, but maybe the rich keep making good money decisions and the poor keep making bad ones...just a thought
Mar 4, 2014 4:10PM

Switch your homepage to Yahoo and your search engine to Google. MSNBC is doing it's best to paint those who are successful as evil. Note a similar trend in the movies where the bad guy is normally rich and has always made his money unethically.


There is a deliberate attempt to brain wash and facilitate class warfare.

Mar 4, 2014 4:13PM
Wow! This wasn't obvious when voting for a President that rode in on handing out welfare. For those that are challenged on this idea; there will always be a gap between hard working people and welfare riders sorry for exposing the truth. Hard work won't run out though and welfare will so don't hope it will get better.
Mar 4, 2014 4:17PM
I don't know but this "income inequality" bullsh*t makes it sound like money is GIVEN by some unseen, all-powerful agency to rich people only and nothing to the "poor". If the top1% are earning 40 times more than the 99% it's because this is what PRIVATE corporations authorize. Sure the shareholders should bitch and moan what ridiculous salaries board of directors give CEO's but that's their fault for not screaming and chanting. You can thank the Fed for printing money out of thin air and destroying the value of the dollar.
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