Seattle’s income inequality gap is growing

The rainy city has just posted a record high for income inequality that rivals their tech-domination counterpart, San Francisco. Seattle is home to some of the world’s most famed billionaires (a la Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos), and according to the Seattle Times, the top 20% of income earners in Seattle made up 53% of […]


November 20, 2017

The rainy city has just posted a record high for income inequality that rivals their tech-domination counterpart, San Francisco.

Seattle is home to some of the world’s most famed billionaires (a la Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos), and according to the Seattle Times, the top 20% of income earners in Seattle made up 53% of the city’s total income in 2016.

And it’s only getting worse

According to the Gini Index, the city’s richest residents saw a $40k pay raise in 2016, pushing top dawg Seattleans to an average income of $318k.

Studies show the average middle- to lower-class incomes actually haven’t changed since last year, but because the profits made by the top 20% were so large, the gap grew even wider.

The director of the Economic Policy Institute, Heidi Shierholz, believes the biggest reason for this gap in Seattle — and the nation, at large — is the decline in unions brought on by worsening labor laws since the 1970s.

Seattle seems to be aware of its problem

This year, the city implemented an increased minimum wage of $15 an hour, up from $11 in 2015.

They also fought to institute an income tax on Seattle’s highest earners (*ahem* Bezos/Gates). The City Council passed this new legislation in July, but several lawsuits were filed in order to put a stop to it.

This doesn’t stop at Seattle

Recent studies show the world’s richest 1% now own half of the world’s wealth in 2017, up from 42.5% since the 2008 financial crisis.

What’s worse is that in 2012, the $240B net income of the richest 100 billionaires would’ve been enough to obliterate extreme poverty 4 times over — and those billionaires have only become more billionaire-ey since. You do the math.

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