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Report: Fairfield County is nation’s ‘most unequal’ metro area

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GREENWICH, CT - MAY 15:  HRH Prince Harry (center) competes in the Sentebale Royal Salute Polo Cup during the sixth day of his visit to the United States at Greenwich Polo Club on May 15, 2013 in Greenwich, Connecticut. HRH will be undertaking engagements on behalf of charities with which the Prince is closely associated on behalf also of HM Government, with a central theme of supporting injured service personnel from the UK and US forces.  (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/WireImage)

GREENWICH, CT – MAY 15: HRH Prince Harry (center) competes in the Sentebale Royal Salute Polo Cup during the sixth day of his visit to the United States at Greenwich Polo Club on May 15, 2013 in Greenwich, Connecticut. HRH will be undertaking engagements on behalf of charities with which the Prince is closely associated on behalf also of HM Government, with a central theme of supporting injured service personnel from the UK and US forces. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/WireImage)

A new report published this week by the real estate website Trulia declares that the Fairfield County Metropolitan Statistical Area is the nation’s ‘most unequal,’ due to the great divide between our area’s well-to-do families and those who are struggling to make ends meet.

“Income inequality has been growing in America, driven by technology, globalization, and other factors. It’s caused tensions between the haves and have-nots, which often get played out at the local level, and these tensions have erupted into fights over housing affordability and public services,” Trulia’s Chief Economist Jed Kolko writes in the introduction to his report, which compared incomes of the rich, median and poor households in each of the nation’s largest 100 metropolitan areas.

To come up with his ranking, Kolko began by defining who is “rich” and who is “poor.” Here’s how he did that:

A rich household is defined as being at the 90th percentile – which means being above 90% of all households in the metro; the median is at the 50th percentile, while poor is defined as at the 10th percentile. Our main inequality measure is the ratio of incomes at the 90th and 10th percentiles (the “90/10 ratio”), which shows the size of the gap between the rich and the poor. A higher value of the ratio means incomes are more unequal; among the 100 metros, the 90/10 ratio ranges from below 9 to above 18.

Here in Fairfield County, the number is higher than ever. Back in 1990, it was 11.4; in 200, it increased to 15.7; and again to 16.2 in 2006. By 2012, Kolko found the number was 18.5 — the largest in the entire nation. Here’s what he had to say about income inquality here in our backyard:

The most unequal metro in America isn’t a well-known big city; it isn’t even bankrupt or overrun with rich tech workers. It’s Fairfield County, CT, home to the tony towns of Darien and Weston but also to the city of Bridgeport, where one third of children are below the official poverty level today and which tried to go bankrupt back in 1991. There, the 90th percentile of income is 18.5 times the 10th percentile. San Francisco, New York, Boston, and Detroit – which did successfully go bankrupt last year – round out the top five. Among the top 10 most unequal metros, four are in New England.

Want to know who has better equality? Here’s the top 1o:

Categories: General
Maggie Gordon

8 Responses

  1. Savannah says:

    Oh this is such a bunch of B.S. Since when has “working hard and making a good living” become “not fair” because the guy next door sits on his arse drinking beer all day!! Why is “he” entitled to my hard-earned money!
    The White House started this B.S. and it’s just ridiculous.

  2. Common Sense says:

    Is this a shock to anyone? The rich rule and the poor are paid slaves. It’s just getting worse in third world America.

  3. don'tcomplain toomuch says:

    Odd that I had to go to a newspaper in the UK but it appears that Bridgeport is the most heavily taxed city in America!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2563163/Americas-taxed-city-revealed-Bridgeport-Connecticut-Cheyenne-Wyoming-city-lowest-rates.html

    Looks like competition overtook the cities businesses and new business wasn’t encouraged to replace losses.

    http://www.city-data.com/us-cities/The-Northeast/Bridgeport-History.html

  4. Michael says:

    You mean some people have more money than others? Intolerable!

  5. don'tcomplain toomuch says:

    This is proof that working 60 hours a week, attending class and studying, having ambition to succeed, wanting more and being willing to work and struggle to get it pays off. Its also proof that skipping school, watching tv at night instead of studying, and having no greater ambition than hanging out or doing drugs will get you nothing.

    Do some deserve to be poor? Yes. Do some deserve to be rich? No way. The “game” of success is tilted to favor momentum, in other words money gets more money. If you want some wealth you have to save it and put it to work. Most of the wealth in Fairfield County got here by people saving it, putting it to work, not for just a year or two but for life times, many life times.

    It is unfair you have to create wealth over a life time. So this article about people who save shouldn’t be about the unfairness but instead ask HOW and WHAT DID THESE PEOPLE DO, and WHAT HABITS do they have? Otherwise its all just complaining if you don’t learn from the obvious.

  6. JRV says:

    What do you Expect after 40 plus years of Democratic controlled House & Senate? it will only get worse.

  7. Joe Bell says:

    Hello? This is news. When I moved here in 1968 that was the case. I was earning $6000 a year and the only place I could afford in Stamford was a 250 sq. foot efficiency for 150 a month or 30 percent of my gross salary.

  8. Paolo Rossi says:

    What can you do about it I believe the problem is the cost of living in CT and taxes you pay. Not everyone is going to be a millionaire but there use to be a strong middle class where if you worked you were able to provide for your family and through generations the children would go to college and improve their lives. Today you are struggling being in the middle class because by the time you have real money in your hands you have to work half a year to meet your tax obligations. Now if you are middle class and have two or three children you need at least half million dollars to educate those kids and being in the middle class you don’t qualify for any help because they tell you “you don’t qualify” for anything.