The income gap between the rich Americans and middle and low-income households continues to widen, according to a new report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, released this morning.
From 1975 to 2012, the highest-earning 20 percent of households saw their share of income rise from 43.6 percent to 51 percent, the report finds. Most of this gains was seen among those in the highest 5 percent of income.
In 2012, low-income households saw their share drop to 3.2 percent while the high earners saw their share jump to 51 percent.
The findings, which echo those by other groups, point to a need for public policy action, the report says.
The report looks at the distribution of income in metropolitan areas. St. Louis emerged as one of the most-balanced of large metros — with a nearly equal number of households earning less than $35,000 a year as households earning more than $75,000.
Median income in the St. Louis area was about $53,000 a year in 2013 — 96th in the nation. It’s projected to grow to $60,000 in 2017, an annual rate of 3.1 percent.
Other large metros with “a very equal distribution,” according to the report: Phoenix, Riverside, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Charlotte and Providence.
The Washington, D.C. area had the highest percentage of households earnings more than $75,000 (57.5 percent) and the lowest percentage of those making less than $35,000 (17 percent).
At the other end of the spectrum, Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas had the highest percentage of low-income households (55.1 percent) and the second-lowest percentage of those making more than $75,000 (16.5 percent)