WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

D.C. Ranks Fourth In Income Inequality Among Large Cities

In D.C. the difference between the haves and the have-nots is much higher than most cities.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05/6757871357
In D.C. the difference between the haves and the have-nots is much higher than most cities.

The average income of the top 5 percent of District households is 53.8 times the average income of the bottom 20 percent, according to a report by the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute (PDF). This makes income inequality in D.C. the fourth-highest among large U.S. cities.

D.C.'s top earning families made $530,000 on average in 2012, the highest number of any city in the country. To put it into perspective, that's $100,000 more than the wealthiest 5 percent in New York City, $125,000 more than in Boston and $275,000 more than the top earners in Philadelphia.

By contrast, the bottom fifth of households in D.C. are drawing an income of $9,900 on average, roughly the same as other large cities. What that doesn't take into account is the much higher cost of living in the nation's capital compared to elsewhere.

A study by the Economic Policy Institute last year concluded that a family of four would need $88,615 a year just to make ends meet.

Wes Rivers, who wrote the study, says policies like an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, investment in training programs and an expansion of the supply of affordable housing could help boost D.C.'s poor.

"Making work pay and taking steps to help bridge the gap between the high cost of living and low wages for low-income residents will help increase economic mobility and lessen inequality," Rivers says in the report.

Earlier this year, the D.C. Council passed a bill that will raise the city's minimum wage to $11.50 by 2016. At the recent Democratic mayoral debate at WAMU 88.5, Mayor Vincent Gray also said the city is preserving 10,000 units of affordable housing and is putting more money towards it in the forthcoming budget.

NPR

Once Outlaws, Young Lords Find A Museum Home For Radical Roots

Inspired by the Black Panthers, the Young Lords were formed in New York City by a group of Puerto Rican youth in 1969. Their history is now on display in a new exhibition.
NPR

Europe's Taste For Caviar Is Putting Pressure On A Great Lakes Fish

Scientists say lake herring, a key fish in Lake Superior's food web, is suffering because of mild winters and Europe's appetite for roe. Some say the species may be at risk of "collapse."
NPR

Once Outlaws, Young Lords Find A Museum Home For Radical Roots

Inspired by the Black Panthers, the Young Lords were formed in New York City by a group of Puerto Rican youth in 1969. Their history is now on display in a new exhibition.
NPR

Google Brings Internet Service To Sri Lanka Through, Balloons?

Google has successfully launched its "Project Loon" in Sri Lanka. The goal of the program is to use a series of high-altitude balloons to bring 3G service to underserved areas.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.