Commentary, NC Budget and Tax Center

New county data reveal the growing gap between NC’s top 1% and everyone else

Alexandra Sirota of the NC Budget and Tax Center has a new entry in the BTC’s Prosperity Watch series:

The New Gilded Age in NC: The gap between top 1% and everyone else is growing

North Carolina’s economic recovery has not only failed to reach many communities, the income gains that have occurred have accrued to those at the very top of the income distribution — further growing inequality across the state.

As researchers note in a new report from the Economic Policy Institute, income inequality is not an inevitable outcome of economic growth but is tied to the policy choices that guide who benefits from growth that does occur and by how much. Furthermore, income inequality puts at risk the attainment of various important economic and social goals, including the potential for longer growth, improved well-being, and economic mobility.

This unique county level analysis measured income inequality between the top 1 percent and bottom 99 percent to show that communities across the country have experienced rising income inequality since 2010.

The data for North Carolina is startling. From 2010 to 2015, in 28 of North Carolina’s 100 counties, the top 1 percent captured a greater share of the income growth than that captured by the bottom 99 percent.

The difference in income between the top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent is greatest in urban areas. In the state’s urban counties, the top 1 percent have incomes that are 23 times that of the bottom 99 percent, whereas in the state’s rural counties that ratio is 14 times that of the bottom 99 percent.

As the map shows, 12 counties saw the incomes of the bottom 99 percent of residents decline and 42 counties have ratios where the top 1 percent had incomes 15 times or higher than the bottom 99 percent.  In 14 counties, the top 1 percent have more than 20 times the income of the bottom 99 percent — Mecklenburg (31.2), Macon (26.7), Iredell (26.1), Forsyth (25.2), Guilford (24.9), Alleghany (24.8), Orange (24.6), Union (22.7), New Hanover (22.6), Lenoir (21.5), Montgomery (21.2), Chowan (20.3), Buncombe (20.1) and Pitt (20.1) — thereby performing worse than the national average of this ratio.

Here is a table of county income inequality from the Sommelier and Price research. 

 

Check Also

Another editorial pleads with Burr, Tillis to end ideological attack on federal courts

As Clayton Henkel noted yesterday, the Winston-Salem Journal ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

Shortly after 10 o’clock yesterday morning, a federal jury in the hog nuisance case Gillis vs. Murph [...]

North Carolina state law would seem to provide just two options for Wayne County school leaders, clo [...]

Perhaps the sixth time is the charm? Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) unveiled another attempt Tuesday b [...]

As the UNC Board of Governors prepares to take up the fate of the Silent Sam Confederate monument Fr [...]

Fayetteville is my hometown more than any – I was born here to military parents, this is where my gr [...]

It’s long been understood by those who pay attention to public policy debates that the age-old conse [...]

The post The newest nuisance in the 9th: Election Fraud Scandal appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

Earlier this week, the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees (BoT) began plans to erect a statue dedicat [...]