Connecticut ranks high in income inequality

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Fairfield County has the highest income inequality in Connecticut and the sixth highest in the nation, with the top one percent making an average of 73.7 times more than earners in the bottom 99 percent.

Data from the Economic Policy Institute shows that the top one percent in Fairfield County made in an average of $6 million in 2013 – third nationally only to New York City and Teton, Wyoming. The average income of the bottom 99 percent in Fairfield County for the same year was about $82,000.

Windham County had the lowest income inequality in the state, with top earners making about 10 times more than the bottom 99 percent. That puts it in the bottom quarter for income inequality nationwide.

The Economic Policy Institute is a Washington, D.C.,-based think tank that tends to take a liberal stance on issues and based their analysis on IRS and Census data.

Connecticut was one of 15 states in which all income growth since the 2008 recession went to the top 1 percent, according to the EPI report.

“This lopsided income growth means that income inequality has risen in recent decades,” the report said.

While top incomes grew by 17.2 percent between 2009 and 2013, the report said average incomes for the rest of the state fell by 1.6 percent during that period.

As a whole, Connecticut ranked second to New York in income inequality and first in the minimum income needed to be part of the top one percent – about $660,000. That’s nearly twice the national threshold.

The average income of the top one percent in the state was about $2.4 million in 2013, while the rest of the state averaged about $56,000.

Nationwide, the top one percent makes about 20 times more than the bottom 99.

The report advocates measures to reduce income inequality, including economic policies to promote employment and returning bargaining power to workers.

What do you think?

  • Don Gonsalves

    This is a very stupid comparison and means absolutely nothing. All it means is you have some high earners in your area. There is nothing wrong with that. I guess the liberals want these high earners to just give their money away to the less fortunate.Again a stupit comparison

    • Joseph Brzezinski

      Some other comparison would be more useful for policy discussions involving taxing and ecpenditures. The top 1% are not the only earners “giving their money away” to the less fortunate. Maybe some ratios looking at ascending quintiles would be more useful.

  • Joseph Brzezinski

    Various measures of income inequality are available – is the ratio of average incomes of top 1% to bottom 99% the most common or preferred measure most often used to illustrate income inequality? When the cutoff income level is determined at a county level, are not comparisons among counties distorted? How about comparisons among states or counties to state total?