At the heart of the Occupy Wall Street movement is disgust over the well-documented increase of income inequality in America over the past few decades and the slow disappearance of a robust middle class. While New York City is certainly an apt place for the center of those protests, Miami certainly can empathize. The Miami metro area has the second-greatest gap between the haves and have-nots, according to a new U.S. Census report, only behind NYC.
Los Angeles, Houston and Memphis round out the top five. Read the full report in PDF form here.
The report uses "the Gini
index of household income inequality ... (which) ranges from 0.0,
when all households have equal
shares of income, to 1.0, when one
household has all the income and
the rest none)."
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The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach metro are has a Gini index of 0.493. The nationwide Gini index is 0.467.
Within the city limits of Miami, the inequality picture is even more grim. The City of Miami has a Gini index of 0.540, which ties it for third place with Washington D.C. for the third highest income inequality in the nation.
On the state level, Florida comes in ninth on the Gini index, but the report uses other indicators to measure state-wide inequality.
"There was only one state where
the different income inequality
measures tell a confused story, as
indicated by a difference in ranking
of at least 10 places. Florida was
ranked ninth by the Gini index
with greater income inequality than the U.S. Gini (0.469 versus 0.467);
it was however ranked twenty-
seventh by the P90/10 index, and
twenty-third by the P95/20 index, with both the latter two indexes
showing lower income inequality than for the United States as
a whole. This suggests that the
extremes of income are not as
prevalent in Florida as in the
other states," says the report.