The United States has a greater gap between rich and poor than any other advanced nation. President Obama has called it "the defining challenge of our time." Financial inequality fueled Occupy Wall Street (which spread into a broader Occupy movement seen most recently in Hong Kong) and the rise of the term (epithet?) "1 percenter," not to mention sales of an unlikely bestseller, French economist Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the Twenty-First Century."
The writers at the Movoto real estate blog got to wondering: How does that kind of inequality play out nationally?
They devised a formula to rank the states, using census data on four criteria: income by gender (wide disparities score high on the "unequal" scale); whether or not a household earns income (a high non-earning proportion scores high); the size of the middle class (smaller middle classes scored high); and each state's Gini index, the world's most commonly used measure of inequality (a high ranking translates to a high score on Movoto's "unequal" scale). You can read more about their methodology on Movoto's blog.
The states that rank worst of all for inequality are concentrated in the South, followed by the East Coast. The Midwest fares best among regions -- but the single best-ranking state is Vermont.
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