Income inequality sharply increased in California as the state emerged from the Great Recession, with the top 1 percent of Californians capturing 135 percent of income growth between 2009 and 2012, according to a new national analysis.
In contrast, the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute study found, the other 99 percent of Californians saw an overall loss of income during the period.
California’s 1-percenters saw their incomes expand by an average of 49.6 percent during the recovery, the nation’s fourth highest rate of growth. Only in oil-rich Wyoming, South Dakota and Texas were their income gains higher. But the 99-percenters in those states saw small income gains during the period, unlike California.
California also had one of the nation’s widest income ratios between 1-percenters and 99-percenters, the study found. The average income of those at the top of the economic food chain in California was $1.6 million in 2012, while that of the 99-percenters was $45,775.
That ratio, 34.9-to-1, was the nation’s fifth highest behind No. 1 Connecticut (51-to-1), New York, Nevada and Florida.
The Economic Policy Institute is a liberal think tank which obtains its financing primarily from foundations and labor unions.