Income inequality highest in more than 50 years: census

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Income inequality in the United States is at its highest point since data started being collected more than 50 years ago, according to Census Bureau numbers.

The Gini index that measures income inequality grew significantly from 0.482 in 2017 to 0.485 in 2018, The Associated Press reported. The scale ranges from zero, exemplifying perfect equality, to one, if one household received all of the income.

The census reported income overall increased by 0.8 percent from 2017 to 2018 to a median household income of almost $62,000. Even though the income increased, it was not distributed evenly.

{mosads}Nine states experienced increases in inequality from 2017 to 2018: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Texas and Virginia, according to a census release

The District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and five states: California, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana and New York had higher income inequality than the country as a whole. These areas usually either have high amounts of wealth, poverty or both, the release stated. 

States that had the most equal incomes were Utah, Alaska, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota, according to the AP.

Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have centered their campaigns around economic inequality, pushing for increased minimum wages and higher taxes on the wealthy.

Sean Snaith, an economist at the University of Central Florida, told the AP that two generation populations mark the end of each spectrum, with baby boomers nearing retirement and millennials and Gen Zers are entering the early stages of the workforce. 

“I would say probably the biggest factor is demographics,” he said. “A wealth tax isn’t going to fix demographics.”

Tags Bernie Sanders Census Elizabeth Warren Income income inequality
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