Which US Cities Have The Highest Income Inequality?

Tyler Durden's picture

Atlanta, Georgia suffers the greate income inequality of any city in the US - closely followed by New Orleans. According to Bloomberg, which ranked 300 U.S. cities with populations of at least 100,000 based on their level of income inequality and identified the 50 with the greatest inequality. What is stunning is that while top-down many are focused on the widening gap overall, in these 2 cities alone, over one-quarter are in poverty (earn less than $4,020), while 60% are in the nation's top quintile for household income. Interestingly, the median income does not correlate well with the inequality.

Income Inequality of the worst 50 cities in the US...


And (in the same order) the median household income...

Methodology (via Bloomberg)

The Gini coefficient, which is calculated by the Census from household income share by quintiles, was used to measure distribution of wealth. It ranges from zero, which reflects absolute equality, to one, complete inequality.

The average score for the United States was 0.4757. In 2013, a person living alone making less than $11,490 was classified as in poverty. The threshold increased by $4,020 for each additional household member.

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MedicalQuack's picture

It's all modeled this way too.  A very smart former Wall Street Quant gave a lecture on that called Modeling for Inequality using segmentation.


Also if you didn't see it, the World Forum Privacy Report "The Scoring of America" all eyes are watching the US.  We hope for jobs that would help rebuild the US and all we got were a bunch of alogirhtms that score us out of the jobs that are left.


Our government seems to have drifted into a virtual world and has forgotten about the real world where we all live. 

knukles's picture

And there you have San Francisco.  The only reason its GINI coeff is smaller than some others, is that unlike, Atlanta, for example where there is a broad sample of all sorts of demographics, only the very, very, very well off can afford a place in SF.

Fuck me, the GINI of Pebble Beach CA or Greenwich CT are very low, too, FFS

Also note the mean income leves of places like Berkeley CA and Cambridge MA. 
Yorp, Cadillac Commies
Go figure


More grist for Mr Stompyfeet and the Pope

666's picture

If poverty is now defined as making less than $4,020, then I'm finally wealthy!

centerline's picture

K - they are going to invent whatever statistics they need to redistribute.  Is the only way to keep the party going into the wee hours before the ugly lights come on.

SilverRhino's picture

Atlanta and New Orleans? Gee, I wonder what do they have in common?

Jon Bong Jovi's picture

I live in NOLA. We've got a surge of people moving here for Hollywood South, the new VA Hospital, and other bullshit all fueled by Govt Money and Tax Credits of some sort. 

Of course, the lowest income are getting pissed because they're watching opportunity pass them by as these newcomers are taking over "their jobs" and their neighborhoods. Gentrification is pushing all the poor out.

Schools still suck ass even though they point to the success of the Charter schools, which is all BS in my opinion. High Schoolers still graduating functionally illiterate. I have friends who are school administrators and they're well intentioned liberals, but four - five years in, they're burnt out by the racism. There's this idea that many of the parents think that only Blacks can teach Blacks. That shit didn't get them anywhere before.

I live in Idiocracy. The plus is if you're somewhat intelligent you can make a killing here because the competition is not all that fierce. 

Yen Cross's picture

 Does " Anytown U.S.A." count?

Goldilocks's picture

The Tragically Hip - New Orleans Is Sinking
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAZUsCONjIQ (4:27)

The Tragically Hip - New Orleans Is Sinking
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaeEopDW0V4 (4:19)

centerline's picture

How about an actual post G.  Till then -1 for you EVERY time I see you.  Sorry man.  But, sometimes you have to engage a little.

Otto Zitte's picture

Its good to be me.

q99x2's picture

Figured we had to be doing pretty well. At the AA meetings around where I live everyone is a doctor or lawyer or have their own businesses. Some are musicians that make money or are married into money. Others inherited it. Even the one and only street person drives a nice bicycle and has new shoes.. Everyone is rich. I don't know why. Three people sitting beside me last Friday all graduated from UCLA. So what's up ZH? These are the people that were at one time drug addicts, alcoholics and prostitutes. I mean I haven't had to work in the last 20 years and I've had more fun than ever. I do work at my studies for college though. And, I do get paid by Yellen or somebody for my good grades. I had about $180,000 in medical treatment last year and that all turned out fine.

Anyhow I'll still complain as usual because I hate crooksm fascists, crooked politicians, globalists and financial terrorists.

I like Bitcoin: Last Price: 453.2300

Amish Hacker's picture

Seems like the inequality of Washington, D.C. would be a lot worse if they included the members of that non-resident millionaires' club, Congress.

fatsacca's picture

Gainesville, FL # 5.  50k + college students and bunch of slackers.  Lots of paid academics and a large medical industrial complex.  The east side of town is mainly democrats and celebrities that have never learned how to earn a living.  Meh.

Sven Sikztu's picture

Another stupid false paradigm like Republican v. Democrat... I thought ZH was above this twaddle. WTF Tylers! If I want Progressive talking points I can go to Huffpo for Lucifers' sake!

Lead Balloon's picture

Income inequality is the engine of prosperity.  Pay everybody the same, and you have a dead economy.  Offer untold riches to those who takes risks, those who innovate, those who make things happen, and you have a vibrant economy.  I WANT income inequality.

MarsInScorpio's picture



It takes megabucks and network. Invest $20-million in me and I'll take risks, innovate, and make untold riches.

No investment capital and I won't make squit.


It's like going to Harvard; it is not only a function of intelligence, it is a function of having the money for tuition, and the network to get you admitted.


As you stated your fantasy, you show your disconnect from reality.



Lead Balloon's picture

"no investment capital and I won't make squit"




DId you stay up all night thinking that up.  Brilliant!


conspicio's picture

The GINI is an uncontextualized load of crap. There are hundreds of scholarly critiques on GINI, and they are all correct. And yet here at ZH, of all places, it shows up in these silly tables aimed at perpetuating some obtuse view on income inequality (is this about the south? or blacks in the south? or what)...just implications, but nothing more than a link to...gasp...BLOOMBERG? Really Tylers? There's the Palmer, Thiel, Hoover, etc...Let's see how those are presented in order to demonstrate the bullshit nonsense once can make out of census data and see how dramatically different all of these cities would fall given the approach of the metric. But hey, BLOOMBERG LINKBAIT for everyone, amirite...

NaN's picture

Indeed. The ratio uses wide intervals so it produces the blurriest possible view.

(But I'll take Bloomberg over WSJ any day.)

Wait What's picture

having visited most of the top 20 cities on the 1st chart at some point in my life 1 commonality comes to mind: large populations of immigrants/minorities along with concentrations of certain specific industries. Atl: logistics, NOR: gulf transport, MIA: tourism, carribbean transport, BERK: biotech, tech, BOS/CAMB: banking, education, RICH: defense, etc., etc. all those industries and their highly paid 'workers' require an underclass to do the shitty jobs they don't have time or interest in doing. those jobs get outsourced to people earning the lowest wages possible and the fact that there is money flowing down results in more in-migration from other parts of the country/world. poor minority/migrants acquire currency, industry leaders maintain beautiful households and neighborhoods.

a study providing evidence of what i just wrote provides no insights except for those idiots who spend their lives in ivory towers or too preoccupied with their own petty problems to notice the real world around them.

what all of the 'bright' people HAVE COMPLETELY MISSED in this idiotic discussion of inequality is the fine distinction between WEALTH inequality, RENTIER INCOME inequality, and WAGE INCOME inequality.

only 1 is being highlighted by the people who are setting the boundaries and terminology of the discussion. while they're showering you with lines about minimum wage, you're not thinking about the gap between capital gains and income taxes from wages earned. it's why nothing will be fixed for a long time, why securities markets can bubble higher even as wages and employment stagnate. America's leaders have decided 'all we want is your money to keep funding our status quo, we couldn't care less about you employing our people.'

Oracle of Kypseli's picture

Several years ago I lived at the Surabaya Hyatt for more than a year. Staring down from the back window you can see the shacks where the poor people lived and they make a year less than what my company was paying for two nights there.

Yes. That makes you feel guilty. But discussing this with other colleagues and deeply thinking about it you realize that there is no such thing as égalité, fraternité, liberté.

It has a lot to do with how much sacrifice and effort your parents made to educate you, how much effort you yourself put into studying and working hard and a myriad other things that have to do with being at the right place at the right time, your social circles and the chances and risks you take.

One thing for sure: Governments are not your friends. They just want your votes. I know that, you know that, but those who cannot even read don't know that.


Wait What's picture

i disagree that you should feel guilty. this is a world we were all born into, not one we created. that we play the game as it has been taught to us is the only rational choice we have. that we enjoy the perks of our hard earned salaries is no cause for shame. what is shameful is the differential in take home earnings from the work i do vs. the capital i'm accumulating. i've actually calculated, assuming the current rate of inflation, tax rates, and avg. 5 yr return on my investments, how old i will be when it will be a disincentive for me to work vs letting my accumulated wealth work on my behalf. i will be 51. my capital will then be returning more take home pay than my actual work. that's what the pro-capital, financialized global economy has wrought. disincentives to work up and down the economic ladder.

Market Man's picture

So when is equality a virtue?   Think about it; equality is synonymous with loss of freedom!

stacking12321's picture

the article is talking about income inequality, that's a very specific economic concept.

typically, societies with a high degree of income inequality are less stable, and a high degree of injustice.

also, the cause of high degrees of income inequality tends to be central banksters, who funnel wealth from the poor, working, middle, and even upper class, to the top 0.01%, and they do this through money printing and propping up stock markets to artificially unsustainable levels.

some inequality is fine and normal - it's when the apparatus of the government has been hijacked by the few oligarchs to serve their own interests at the expense of the public, that it becomes a big problem.

taxation and money printing are both forms of theft.

if you really believe in freedom, then you are against the fed's money printing and in favor of a free market.

DerdyBulls's picture

It's called "bastardy", not income inequality.

centerline's picture

Wait... isn't Atlanta the "black" place to be?  How the hell could such a place... a haven for the "black cause" be the TOP of the list for income inequality?  Someone please explain this to me.

crunchyfrog's picture

I'm glad I'm not in the land of cotton....

10mm's picture

What a waste of a point. Like picking sports out.

crunchyfrog's picture

Welcome to Dixie. It's not even neofeudal. The rich white dudes came straight from England. What is this chin of which you speak?

DerdyBulls's picture

Renegade males. Baby men. Baby women. Making babies with no responsibility. Statistics are fun. You can point to geography or race if you want. The problem is everywhere. I read about bastardy practice among a few of the bright here. Income inequality is a fallacy. Poverty isn't. It's an outcome. A result. Not always, but almost. It's is a moral problem on many levels, from theft and transfer payments by government, for government, to support bastardy spawn and thereby expand bureaucracy so spawn that choose work can work. But the problem goes to foundations. Family breakdown and renegade male sexuality. And yes, it takes two.   

Roanman's picture

It seems that everyone in Detroit is broke. Nah, ..... everyone in Detroit is poor. There is a difference and Detroit is where that difference reveals itself most clearly.

DerdyBulls's picture

I'm sorry. I don't understand your comment. Detroit, however does brings to mind a recent Mayor that seems to be a character poster child for the problems and causes of poverty. If you live in Detroit, look for opportunity elsewhere then move. Work is an opportunity.

Walt D.'s picture

The real canard in this "Income Inequality" balony is that it is occurring because "Capitalism is Broken" rather than it is a direct result of the Fed's QE programs and the Obama administration policies. 

jimsoong25's picture

Lies, damn lies and statistics.  This is a lack of understanding of Atlanta.  Atlanta has a large middle class, they just don't live within the city limits.  Most of Atlanta's 5.5 million people live in the burbs.  Gwinnett, N Fulton and Cobb Counties have large middle classes.  If you're rich, you can live in Atlanta and send your children to private school.  Otherwise, your children would have to attend a poor black inner city school.  This is why the middle class doesn't live there.  Better schools and housing in the burbs.