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5 States Where the 'Haves' Have the Most

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To the U.S. Census Bureau, the gap between the rich and the poor looks a lot bigger in some U.S. states than in others.

The bureau tells the story in the American Community Survey series dataset, by giving each state’s Gini index of household income inequality.

(Related: Here’s When the Government Now Thinks You’ll Die)

A Gini index is a mathematical tool that shows how similar, or unequal, a set of numbers is.

In a state where every household had the same income, the Gini index would be 0%. In a state where one household had all of the income, the Gini index would be 100%.

The median Gini index for the world is about 37.7%, meaning that half have a Gini index under 37.7% and half have an index over 37.7%, according to the World Bank. Country Gini index figures range from 25.5%, in Ukraine, up to 63.4%, in South Africa.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s latest Gini index numbers are based on 2017 survey results. In 2017, median state Gini index was 46.6. State Gini index figures ranged from 42.3%, in Utah, up to 51.6%, in one Northeastern state.

High inequality figures could be hard on financial advisors who want to sell products and services aimed at middle-market customers, such as term life, but helpful for those who want to sell products and services aimed at high-income customers, such as estate planning services.

To see the states with the highest income inequality levels, see the data cards in the slideshow above.


To create this slideshow, we used Gini index of income inequality data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey one-year estimates database.

The datasets, and data filtering tools, are available here.

— Read The 5 States Where Death Is Most Unfairon ThinkAdvisor.

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