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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Income inequality "is the biggest powder keg in America right now"

Reproduced from CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals

The gap between those at the top and everyone else in the U.S. grew last year to its highest level in more than 50 years, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released Thursday.

Why it matters: The issue is beginning to generate greater concern among Americans, data shows, and could become a more prominent issue for politicians as well as companies.

Go deeperArrowSep 30, 2019

Broadband's entrenched inequality

Data: Axios research. Note: Prices do not include taxes, except Starry.; Table: Axios Visuals

The results of a new Census Bureau report reveal significant overlap between areas of limited broadband access and concentrated poverty.

Why it matters: "Inequality and the lack of broadband access have become inherently intertwined in the U.S.," Francella Ochillo, executive director of Next Century Cities, writes for Axios Expert Voices.

Go deeperArrowOct 10, 2019

Limited broadband access hurts economic mobility in poorest states

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Among the states that have fallen furthest behind on broadband access, a new Census Bureau report found that several also have some of the highest levels of poverty in the nation.

Why it matters: Inequality and the lack of broadband access have become inherently intertwined in the U.S. Without reliable high-speed internet access, it is more difficult to apply to the jobs and educational programs that can help people escape poverty. Similarly, those on limited incomes struggle to afford broadband access even where it's available.

Go deeperArrowOct 9, 2019