By Riamy Beuscher, communications intern
Income inequality has become a trending topic in recent years. A 2014 NPR report, 40 Years of Income Inequality in America, tracks household income in America from 1975 to 2010, showing a dramatic incline in income growth among the 95th percentile between 1995 and 2000.
The Washington Post reports there are extreme income gaps in rural America. The Post’s interactive online map details income inequality in counties throughout the United States. The rural West has the largest geographic areas of significant income gaps. In Socorro County, New Mexico the top 1 percent earn nearly 10 times as much as the bottom 99 percent, on average. In Teton County, Wyoming the top 1 percent earn a staggering 233 times the bottom 99 percent. On average, a member of the top 1 percent of earners brings in 25 times as much income as the other 99 percent.
Surprisingly, rural income inequality differs from big urban centers like San Francisco or New York City. Post writer, Kim Soffen, offers two reasonable explanations. “This rural inequality seems to come in two forms. One, which I’ll call ‘home-grown’ inequality, is where the local industries create large income disparities. The other, which I’ll call ‘flown-in’ inequality, is where rich people who made their income elsewhere take up residence.”