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New York's Income Inequality Worse Than In Chile: Study

First Posted: 12/17/10 04:44 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:20 PM ET

Nyc Doorman

A new report by the Fiscal Policy Institute called "Grow Together or Pull Further Apart? Income Concentration Trends in New York," details the vast and growing economic gap between New York's wealthiest and poorest communities.

The report states quite plainly that "New York State has the highest income inequality of all states."

By comparing income shares from four groups in 1990 and 2007, the report found that while the top 1% had made impressive gains in income level, the bottom 50% actually lost ground in earnings, which shows just how much the gap is widening.

Given its degree of inequality, if New York City were a nation, it would rank 15th worst among 134 countries with respect to income concentration, in between Chile and Honduras. Wall Street, with its stratospheric profits and bonuses, sits within 15 miles of the Bronx--the nation's poorest county.

The study faults among many factors the decline of local manufacturing as a boon for lower income communities:

The city used to have a broad middle class, rooted in a vast manufacturing sector and mid-level positions in corporate headquarters as well as in education, government, construction and other good-paying blue-collar jobs. But manufacturing is about one tenth the size it used to be, and the city's labor market has seen the disappearance of thousands of middle-paying jobs and the growth in their place of moderate- to low-paying jobs, mainly in services.

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Filed by Jonah Green  |