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Income Gap Rises In The Southwest

Audio

Aired 11/21/12

A recent study finds income inequality has risen drastically in the United States since the 1970s. Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas have among the widest gaps between rich and poor.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Income gap by state.

— A recent study finds income inequality has risen drastically in the United States since the 1970s. Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas have among the widest gaps between rich and poor.

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities is a nonpartisan think tank that examines how fiscal policy affects poor and middle-class families. Its analysis of census data found the largest income gap between the wealthiest and the poorest in New Mexico, and the second-largest gap in Arizona. Also making the top 10 were California and Texas.

New Mexico also topped the list for the largest gap between top earners and the middle class, with Arizona, California, and Texas again in the top 10.

Elizabeth McNichol with the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities said while the income gap has been growing since the 1970s, things have gotten worse recently.

"When the economy has grown, the lion's share of that has gone to households at the top," McNichol said. "What we've seen in the last decade is that the incomes of the households at the bottom are actually declining."

McNichol said households at all levels took a hit during the recession, but as the economy recovers, incomes of the wealthy have started to grow, while incomes of low- and middle-income families are relatively stagnant.

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