Capitol Alert

California income inequality increased after recession

FILE -- Demonstrators protest for an increase in the minimum wage outside the Capitol Building in Washington on Nov. 13, 2014. A new study shows that income inequality sharply increased in California as the state emerged from the Great Recession.
FILE -- Demonstrators protest for an increase in the minimum wage outside the Capitol Building in Washington on Nov. 13, 2014. A new study shows that income inequality sharply increased in California as the state emerged from the Great Recession. NYT

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.

Call The Bee’s Dan Walters, (916) 321-1195. Back columns, www.sacbee.com/walters. Follow him on Twitter

@WaltersBee.

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