Geography of Inequality - 9/26/16
A chart developed by Branko Milanovic, an economics professor at the City University of New York, has been nicknamed the elephant chart because of its elephantine shape. The chart includes a big hump indicating rising incomes for middle classes in China and India, but goes on to show declining incomes for the lower middle class in advanced nations like the United States.
One can craft a similar chart for the fifty U.S. states. What such an exercise would show is that states that people tend to think of as economic engines for the nation like New York and California have experienced the most growth in income inequality.
This makes sense given the rising compensation of technology workers in Silicon Valley or financiers on Wall Street. States that have lagged economically, like Mississippi and Arkansas, are the states in which economic inequality has narrowed the most.
Over the past five decades, the geography of inequality has shifted in America. During the nineteen sixties, the five most unequal states were Mississippi, South Carolina, Arkansas, Alabama and North Carolina. By twenty ten, the five most unequal states were California, New York, Texas, Arizona and Georgia.