Income Inequality Records Biggest Increases in Metropolitan Areas

The gap between the poor and the wealthy is most considerable in the largest American cities, according to a new report by Brookings Institution. The economic divides in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta and Washington D.C. are much greater than the national average. The study suggests that numerous sources of both income inequality and economic growth have existed side by side over the last three decades.

The study also found that cities may lack the necessary tools to produce neighborhoods and housing for middle-class families and workers in the near future. Many of the major cities noted in the study have failed in their efforts to shorten the gap between poor and rich because they hold basic services and public housing that makes them viable for low-wage earners.

These findings arrive at a momentous time for the United States as it continues to deal with the ramifications of the Great Recession. The country’s job growth is typically relegated to lower-wage positions. Few workers have received pay raises and promotions. As a result of this market stagnation, President Barack Obama has been imploring Congress to push forward with a higher minimum wage.

Income equality continues to be a hot topic among the country’s politicians. The top 5 percent of earners in the United States currently have incomes more than 9 times greater than the bottom 5 percent. These numbers are having an impact from coast to coast. Experts believe that soaring housing costs in San Francisco may force many low-income residents out of the city. Mayor Ed Lee has shared plans to restore and build more than 10,000 homes for low and middle-income residents by the year 2020.

Not all technological centers have seen increasing inequality over the last year, however. Denver and Seattle have both experienced income disparity declines over the last six years. Austin, Texas, only saw a slight uptick.

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