New York City’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, ran on the platform that the city is actually “a tale of two cities,” with the super rich living in Manhattan luxury while everyone else remains confined to the outer boroughs. In his speeches since taking over City Hall, the mayor has emphasized his ideal “One New York,” where all citizens have a fair shot at affordable housing and economic stability.
While many are certainly hoping de Blasio can set an example of an effective way to deal with the widening income gap in the nation’s largest city, New York actually ranks sixth on a new list demonstrating economic inequality in the United States’ biggest cities.
The list was released as part of a study conducted by the Brookings Institution, a non-profit policy research organization. It suggests that Atlanta has the highest rate of inequality in the country.
According to the Daily Mail, “the average income for the top 5 percent of the wealthiest residents is nearly 20 times that of the bottom 20 percent” in Atlanta. The wealthiest individuals in the city make an average of $279,827, while the bottom 20 percent makes an average of $14,850.
The other cities on the top 10 list, in order, are the following: San Francisco, Miami, Boston, Washington, D.C., New York, Oakland, Chicago, Los Angeles and Baltimore.
Brookings Institution senior fellow Alan Berube explained that income inequality is highest in the nation’s biggest metropolises, mainly because that’s where the wealthiest individuals live.
“There’s something of a relationship between economic success and inequality. These cities are home to some of the highest-paying industries and jobs in the country,” Berube said.
Politicians and protesters throughout the United States have demonstrated their desire to curb the widening income gap, and other countries throughout the world have made similar efforts. The Swiss government nearly gave all of its citizens an annual income of roughly $30,000, although that measure did not pass.
Although an effective solution has yet to be found, the widening income gap is a problem large enough that the world is no longer ignoring it.