By Ryan Velez
Recent research and media attention to the wage gap across the country, based on region, race, gender, and other factors, has shed a spotlight on the near-mythical 1%. This small portion of the country supposedly has their hands on the majority of the country’s wealth, yet it’s hard to place faces to the money in many cases. Part of this is due to the fact that while the 1% is wealthy by any standard, exactly by how much is a fluctuating concept. Celebrity Net Worth has compiled a list of data saying exactly how much one needs to make yearly to be one of the 1%, as well as what the average income of the other 99% percent is in this state.
If one wants to see the levels of difference in wealth across the country, one need only look at the two extremes of the list, Connecticut and West Virginia, respectively. To be part of the 1% here, one needs to bring in $2,402,339, compared to the $56,445 average of the rest of the state. Not a huge surprise, considering a number of businesses and wealthy people that have set up shop not just around here, but across much of New England. By comparison, West Virginia’s 1% brings in $488,634, compared to $34,407. Between the combination of poor educational systems and a local economy largely based on coal, an energy source that is being pushed out in favor of more efficient and environmentally friendly forms, West Virginia being low on the list isn’t much of a surprise.
One interesting statistic coming out of these facts is that while Connecticut and West Virginia’s 1% may be the extremes of the list, their average incomes are not. The lowest average incomes of the 99% are actually a tie between Mississippi and New Mexico at $33,383. Mississippi’s economic issues have been written about at length, but New Mexico is a bit of a surprise. One may speculate that this has a lot to do with the large Native American population, who have traditionally had many issues obtaining and holding a financial security, whether they are based on reservations or not.
At the top of the average income spectrum is Alaska, with $63,226. This may be a bit of a surprise, but one has to remember that in the cases of some of the states you may expect, like New York and California, the urban growth that has led to some of the most prominent cases of wealth you will see has also created grinding poverty. As a result, this brings the average down. The second place holder is certain to raise some eyebrows, though, (even if it’s not a big surprise), the District of Columbia, with a $63,100 average income.