Sep 26, 2019

U.S. income inequality surges to highest level in 50 years

Illustration: Axios Visuals

Income inequality in the U.S. increased in 2018 to its highest level in the last 50 years of tracking the statistic, per an AP report on Census Bureau data.

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.

Go deeper: Majority of new hires are people of color for first time in history

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Trump and Zuckerberg share phone call amid social media furor

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

In the week that President Trump took on social media, Axios has learned that he had a call Friday with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that was described by both sides as productive.

Why it matters: With the White House and Twitter at war, Facebook has managed to keep diplomatic relations with the world's most powerful social-media devotee.

Twitter, Google lead chorus of brands backing George Floyd protests

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Twitter and Google are among the dozens of brands over the past 24 hours that have taken public stances in favor of Americans protesting racial equality. Some companies have changed their logos in solidarity with the movement, while others have pledged money in support of efforts to address social injustice.

Why it matters: The pressure that companies feel to speak out on issues has increased during the Trump era, as businesses have sought to fill a trust void left by the government. Now, some of the biggest companies are quickly taking a public stand on the protests, pressuring all other brands to do the same.

NYPD commissioner: "I'm extremely proud" of officers' response to protests

New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea in February. Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a public statement Sunday that he is "extremely proud" of the New York City Police Department's response to protests over the death of George Floyd Saturday night, writing: "What we saw in New York City last night and the night before was not about peaceful protest of any kind."

Why it matters: New York City residents captured several instances of police officers using excessive force against demonstrators. In one video, two NYPD SUVs are seen ramming into protesters who were blocking a road and throwing traffic cones at the vehicles.