restricted access 4. Affluence versus Poverty
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4 Affluence versus Poverty 4.1 HOUSEHOL D INCOM E The discussio n o f povert y versu s affluenc e amon g th e state s o f th e Unite d State s logicall y begins wit h th e geographica l distributio n o f income . Median househol d incom e i s show n a s a three-year average from 199 0 to 1992. Because of the economic recession, household income declined during these years. Census Bureau statisticians analyzed household incomes by comparing a two-year average from 1990-1991 with a two-year average for 1991-1992 (adjusted for inflation as show n b y th e Consume r Pric e Index , o r CPI). Th e analysi s showe d tha t n o stat e had a n increase in income; 38 states and the District of Columbia showed no significant change , and 12 states showed a significant decline in household income: Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texa s and Wes t Virginia . The regional aspects of the distribution of income are striking. Tw o distinct areas had the highest averag e incom e (mor e tha n $34,00 0 o n average , between 199 0 and 1992) : many of the Megalopolis strip of states from New Hampshire to Virginia, and the Pacific state s of California , Washington, Alaska and Hawaii. Connecticut was highest at $42,069 followed by Alaska, Hawaii and New Jersey. Lowest average incomes over the three-year period (less than $29,000) were i n th e South , overlappin g int o Missouri , Indian a an d Ne w Mexico . A second blo c of low-income states was located in the northern Great Plains and northern Rocky Mountain region including bot h Dakotas , Montan a an d Idaho . Th e lowes t incom e stat e wa s Mississipp i wit h $20,769, less than half the income of Connecticut. Next lowest (in order of increasing incomes) were Wes t Virginia , Arkansa s an d Tennessee . This map partly reflects the distribution of high-income, white-collar, professional and technical jobs that are particularly concentrated in large metropolitan areas , so there is some correspondence with Maps 1.3 , Metropolitan Population, and 10.4 , College Graduates, especially alon g both the East and West Coasts. These same states and metropolitan area s are also more likely to offer employmen t opportunities for two-income families, boosting household income. There is an inverse correspondence with the map of Rural Population (1.4) in that many of the more rural southern and western state s are in the lowest income category. Also related are the maps in Section 5 on Ethnic and Cultural Diversity because of the lower incomes of many minority groups. Every stat e ha s uniqu e factor s to o numerous t o detail , suc h a s the inflate d income s due to th e hig h cos t o f livin g i n Alask a an d Hawai i an d th e lowe r incom e i n Florida , du e to retiree s an d recen t wave s o f low-incom e immigrants . Early data for 199 3 showed that the declining trend in household income was continuing, down to $31,241 in 199 3 from $33,58 5 in pre-recession 1989 . Another continuing trend was concentration o f incom e awa y fro m th e "have-nots " and toward th e "haves. " Between 196 8 and 1993, the proportion of income earned by the wealthiest 20 percent of the population grew from 42. 8 percent to 48.2 percent, while the share of the poorest 20 percent of the population declined from 4.2 percent to 3.6 percent. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich called this distribution the mos t unequa l o f an y industria l natio n i n th e world . Regionally , i t i s interestin g t o not e that six of the twelve states mentioned above that had significant declines in household income were amon g th e 1 1 states i n th e high-incom e category . Thre e o f th e states , however , wer e in th e low-incom e category : Florida , Kentuck y an d Wes t Virginia . 50 4.1 HOUSEHOL D INCOM E THREE-YEAR AVERAG E...


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Subject Headings

  • United States -- Social conditions -- 1980- -- Statistics.
  • United States -- Population -- Statistics.
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