03/08/2012 05:49 pm ET Updated May 08, 2012

Income Inequality In The South More Pronounced

NEW YORK, March 8 (Reuters) - The American south has the country's highest rates of economic inequality, while Midwestern counties are more economically equal, according to a report released on Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The findings, taken from the American Community Survey, are based on data from 2006 to 2010.

Six of the ten U.S. counties with the highest levels of income inequality were in the south, with Louisiana's East Carroll Parish and Texas's Edwards County taking first and second place.

Overall, the more unequal counties were also more populous, the report found. New York county, for example, which includes part of New York City, had the third highest rate of income inequality.

The issue of economic inequality has become a flashpoint in recent months, emerging a subject of debate for Republicans and Democrats ahead of this year's presidential elections. Meanwhile, in cities across the country, protestors from Occupy wall Street movement have been staging demonstrations objecting to what they say are policies that privilege the country's wealthiest. (Reporting By Edith Honan; Editing by Paul Thomasch)