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The City with the Worst Income Inequality in Oregon

The United States has some of the highest levels of income and wealth inequality in the world. U.S. Federal Reserve data shows that the wealthiest 10% of Americans control $93.8 trillion, more than double the $40.3 trillion in the hands of the remaining 90% of Americans.

The income and wealth divide only appears to be growing wider. A January 2020 report published by the Pew Research Center found that over the last four decades, income growth for the top 5% of families by earnings has far outpaced income growth for families in the lower income strata.

In a nation as large as the U.S., varied levels of income inequality may be expected, and in a few areas in the country, extreme wealth and extreme poverty exist side by side. In nearly every state, there is at least one city where income inequality is far more pronounced than it is on average nationwide.

Based on the Gini coefficient, a measure of income inequality expressed on a 0 to 1 scale where 0 represents perfect equality and 1 represents the highest level of inequality, Corvallis has the worst inequality in Oregon.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Gini coefficient in Corvallis stands at 0.504, the highest of any city in Oregon. For context, the statewide Gini score stands at 0.459.

In Corvallis, the top 20% of households by earnings account for 52.6% of all income in the area, while the bottom 20% of households account for just 2.2% of earnings. Across the state, the disparity is slightly less pronounced, with the highest earning 20% of households accounting for 49.5% of income versus 3.5% for the bottom 20% of earners.

All data in this story are five-year estimates from the U.S. Bureau's 2019 American Community Survey. For comparison purposes, all places covered by the census with populations above 25,000 -- including towns, boroughs, municipalities, and unincorporated communities -- were considered cities.

CityGini scoreShare of income earned by wealthiest 20% of households (%)Share of income earned by poorest 20% of households (%)Alabama: Auburn0.55356.11.0Alaska: Anchorage0.43047.24.1Arizona: Catalina Foothills0.50754.12.9Arkansas: Little Rock0.53356.92.7California: Beverly Hills0.58662.51.6Colorado: Boulder0.53355.61.9Connecticut: New Haven0.52054.72.4Delaware: Wilmington0.54456.71.9Florida: Miami Beach0.60664.42.0Georgia: Atlanta0.58161.11.8Hawaii: Honolulu0.47350.73.0Idaho: Rexburg0.49452.73.1Illinois: Carbondale0.59962.51.1Indiana: West Lafayette0.57859.71.1Iowa: Iowa City0.51153.01.9Kansas: Leawood0.50454.93.1Kentucky: Richmond0.50453.02.8Louisiana: Monroe0.59162.21.7Maine: Bangor0.50954.12.9Maryland: Baltimore0.51554.02.3Massachusetts: Boston0.53955.61.7Michigan: East Lansing0.56157.31.3Minnesota: Edina0.53757.02.4Mississippi: Oxford0.55457.71.5Missouri: University City0.57861.21.8Montana: Missoula0.48751.93.1Nebraska: Omaha0.47250.83.3Nevada: Winchester0.53356.72.9New Hampshire: Concord0.44948.53.5New Jersey: Princeton0.56358.81.8New Mexico: Las Cruces0.48651.32.7New York: Ithaca0.58360.11.0North Carolina: Chapel Hill0.54956.71.8North Dakota: Grand Forks0.48951.32.7Ohio: Cincinnati0.54156.82.2Oklahoma: Stillwater0.56157.71.5Oregon: Corvallis0.50452.62.2Pennsylvania: State College0.56959.00.9Rhode Island: Providence0.54156.52.2South Carolina: Columbia0.54857.62.0South Dakota: Rapid City0.47351.33.6Tennessee: Johnson City0.54157.22.4Texas: Texarkana0.55057.72.1Utah: Salt Lake City0.50153.52.8Vermont: Burlington0.49652.12.7Virginia: Blacksburg0.58859.50.5Washington: Pullman0.55557.81.5West Virginia: Charleston0.55158.32.3Wisconsin: La Crosse0.48151.93.6Wyoming: Laramie0.46249.53.3

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