The Demography of Inequality in the United States
From PRB.org, November, 2014
Population aging, growing racial/ethnic diversity, changing family structure, and regional population shifts are changing the U.S. demographic landscape and exacerbating differences between the haves and the have-nots.
The United States is undergoing rapid demographic change. Baby boomers, who are mostly non-Hispanic white, have started to reach retirement age, exit the labor force, and collect Social Security benefits. But young adults, who are just starting to enter the workforce, look very different than their parents’ and grandparents’ generations. Historical trends in immigration and fertility have contributed to growing racial/ethnic diversity among young adults and their children. Families are changing, with fewer married couples and more single-parent families and cohabiting unions. And the U.S. population is shifting away from parts of the Northeast and Midwest to new areas of job growth in the South and West.
These demographic trends are occurring against a backdrop of rising inequality in the United States. Since the Great Recession, public discourse has focused primarily on the earnings of chief executives in comparison with low-wage workers. But broader measures of income inequality also show a growing gap between those at the top and those at the bottom. The Gini Index, which measures inequality across households, recently registered its first significant year-to-year increase since 1993; and since 1967, household income inequality has increased by 20 percent....
(Translation: The 1960s cultural revolution led to growing inequality.)
Income inequality was highest in New York, where the top 20 percent of households controlled 54 percent of household income. States with the lowest levels of inequality included Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, New Hampshire, Utah, and Wyoming....
(Translation: Except for Hawaii, the most equal states are red states. Except for New Hampshire, the most equal states are western states.)
According to analysis of US Census data for 2008-2012:
- Hawaii County is a "High Inequality-High Poverty" area
- Maui County is "High Inequality-Low Poverty"
- Honolulu and Kauai are "Low Inequality-Low Poverty"
read ... The Demography of Inequality in the United States