Minnesota by the numbers: the rich get richer, the poor get poorer


A joint study updated last week by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute breaks down income trends for all 50 states using the latest Census figures. The study reveals facts that have been glaringly obvious to anyone who’s not an agoraphobe: The income gap between the richest and poorest families has grown significantly in the last two decades. And that growth has accelerated since the late 1990s, as incomes for poor families actually declined and middle-class families saw their incomes stagnate in most states.

Here’s how the income disparities break down in Minnesota:

* The richest 20 percent of families have an income six times as large as the middle 20 percent of families.

* This ratio was 5.2 in the late 1980s.

* The very richest families — top five percent — have an average income 10.1 times as large as the poorest 20 percent of families.

* The gap between Minnesota’s richest and poorest families is 41st largest in the nation.

* The gap between Minnesota’s richest families and families in the middle is 36th largest in the nation.

* From the late ’80s to mid-2000s, the average income for the poorest fifth of families increased by $5,641, from $17,703 a year to $23,343.

The average income for the richest fifth of families increased during that same time by $47,092, from $92,896 a year to $139,989.