Of the 50 states and 2 territories, Puerto Rico is one of the highest regions in income inequality. Income inequality is measured through the Gini coefficient, which is a measure of inequality of income and wealth across families and individuals in a nation, region, or state. The United States as a whole has a Gini coefficient, as of 2019, of 0.4811. The coefficient is measured from 0 to 1, with 0 being complete parity, and 1 being a completely lopsided area with only the ultra-rich and the ultra-poor. Generally speaking, states that are extremely rich or extremely poor will have high ratios, whereas middle-of-the-road states would have a lower ratio. The Gini Coefficient in Puerto Rico is 0.545, representing the largest inequality in the United States.
Puerto Rico has been around for many years but has only recently been making headlong strides toward becoming an official state. It has the lowest GDP, mean income, and real estate prices when compared to the 50 states and the District of Columbia. As with all new areas that are recent additions to the Union, their wealth increased massively as a whole during the first few years. This is because American citizens can enjoy the quality of life that they know for a cheaper price by moving to severely low-cost-of-living areas. This furthers the divide between the socio-economic classes because average earners will temporarily become above average. This can be a determinant for individuals on a personal level.
New York has the second-highest coefficient of 0.515 as of 2023. New York City is the largest city in the United States, home to over 8.5 million souls, with many more living downtown and close to the city. New York City itself is responsible for much of the commute of neighboring states due to the abundance of jobs within central locations, starting with Manhattan. As is customary in large metropolises, those who are working minimum wage jobs find it extremely difficult to find a place to live within their budget, with many people living below the poverty line. Those that are employed in more senior positions would be considered wealthy in many other states, but when living in the downtown core, six-figure salaries are extremely common and do not afford people the luxury that the same purchasing power would have in other states.
Another state with a coefficient above 0.5 is Connecticut. With a Gini coefficient of 0.502, this is another state with great income inequality. Like New York City, this is partially due to the vast difference in wealth between those in large cities like New Haven. In Connecticut, the average income of the most wealthy 20% of households in the state is $306,153. This is in contrast to the lowest 20% of households where the average income is $16,037.
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