The American middle class is shrinking. According to a report released earlier this year, an estimated 51% of the population was in the middle class at the start of the decade, down from 61% 40 years earlier. It also appears that even as the economy recovers, jobs are being added for low-wage positions much faster. Despite economic growth in the United States, income inequality appears to be worsening nationwide.
The gap between the wealthy and the poor varies across the country. Some areas have much more extreme poverty, extreme wealth or both, and very little in between. 24/7 Wall St. examined the metropolitan areas with the highest Gini coefficient, a figure used to measure income inequality. A low Gini coefficient closer to zero means relative income equality. A higher Gini coefficient closer to one means a limited middle class and concentrated wealth or poverty. To identify the metropolitan areas with the highest income inequality, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 10 areas with the highest Gini coefficient, as measured by the Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey. They excluded those areas where the majority of counties had poverty rates considered to be significantly affected by the presence of college students. In addition to the Gini coefficient, they also used income, poverty and home value data from the Census Bureau. They also reviewed poverty rates in these metropolitan area’s urban and suburban areas, as estimated by the Brookings Institution. All data is for 2012.
Here are the 10 U.S. cities with the widest gap between the rich and poor.
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