While inequality is a political flashpoint here, Seattle actually had one of the smallest increases in recent years, except for a spike in 2013
This may seem counterintuitive, but Seattle was not among the most unequal big cities in 2012, according to a new study from the Brookings Institution. In fact, looking at changes from 2007 to 2012, Seattle ranked 49 out of the 50 largest cities in inequality increases.
Then, in 2013, Seattle led the big cities in the increase of inequality as high-income households saw their wealth increase significantly. Among the other big gainers in the gap between the richest and the rest: Cleveland, Jacksonville, Fla., and Louisville, Ky.
The inequality ratio here was still relatively low compared with peer cities, 31st out of 50. One possible reason, which I have written about before, is that the working poor are increasingly living in the suburbs.
From 2007 to 2012, the most unequal cities were San Francisco, Atlanta, Miami, Sacramento and Jacksonville. The least were Austin, Wichita, Louisville, Dallas and Memphis.
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But inequality rose everywhere, the only question was how much. “In 2013, big cities exhibited greater income inequality between rich and poor households than the rest of the country,” according to Brookings. “Both big cities and the nation as a whole saw income inequality widen in 2013 as incomes of the richest households grew faster than incomes of the poorest households.”
You can read the entire report here.
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You can read my columns and blog posts at www.seattletimes.com/author/jon-talton/