U.S. income inequality surges to highest level in 50 years
Why it matters: Inequality has steadily climbed over the past 5 decades despite the country experiencing the longest period of economic expansion in its history.
By the numbers: The Gini Index measures income inequality on a scale from 0 to 1, with 0 representing maximum equality and 1 representing maximum inequality.
- The Gini Index increased from 0.482 in 2017 to 0.485 last year, despite household median incomes reaching a record high of almost $62,000.
The big picture: Wealth inequality surged in many heartland states last year, thanks to trade and agricultural policies, though coastal states still had the most inequality overall.
- Wealthy coastal areas like D.C., New York and Connecticut and areas with great poverty like Puerto Rico and Louisiana experienced the most income inequality.
- Utah, Alaska, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota were the most economically equal states.