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D.C. Income Disparity Amongst Highest In U.S.

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The income disparity in D.C. is driving up real estate prices and making things even harder for those struggling.
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The income disparity in D.C. is driving up real estate prices and making things even harder for those struggling.

New census figures show the gap between D.C.'s richest and poorest residents is growing and is now one of the highest in the country. An analysis by the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute finds the District's income disparity rates trail only those in Atlanta and Boston.

"We found the average income of D.C.s wealthiest households, the top five percent, is almost half a million dollars per year, and that's higher than in any major US City," says Policy Institute Director Ed Lazere.

Yet, Lazere says the average income for the bottom fifth of D.C. residents is less than $10,000 a year. Moreover, he says that gap between rich and poor has implications.

"The cost of living in D.C. has sky-rocketed, making it hard for lower-income families to find affordable housing," says Lazere.

And with the city's competitive job market, Lazere says, it can be tough for those without advanced degrees to find work: "The city is prospering but its prospering in a way where a lot of people are being left behind."

Lazere says unless city leaders make investments in job training and affordable housing, these trends are just going to get worse.

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