Report Ranks Missouri Near Top for Largest Gap Between Rich and Middle Class

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COLUMBIA - A report released Thursday ranked Missouri seventh in the nation for having the largest growth in the gap between the rich and middle class.

Middle income households saw income fall by 4.6 percent while the top fifth saw their income rise by 6.9 percent from the late 1990s to the mid 2000s. This means the middle class earned $2,898 less each year while the top fifth earned $10,318 more each year.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute conducted the report. The two organizations said the income of the richest fifth of households were 7.3 times larger than incomes of the poorest in the late 2000s. At the same time, the income of the richest five percent were 11.7 times larger than the poorest fifth.

The report blamed the rise in inequality on weak wage growth, government policies and expansion of investments.

To fix the problems, the report cited raising minimum wage, improving unemployment insurance programs and making tax systems more progressive. To look at the report in its entirety, click here.