A Look at Income Inequality in California

New U.S.Census Bureau data reveals a widening gap between rich and poor in California. But the problem is far more pronounced in certain counties, as this new analysis from CalMatters reveals. 

Take the Bay Area, for instance. According to CalMatters, “San Francisco County had the widest income disparity, with the top 5% of households making an average of $808,105, compared with $16,184 for the lowest 20%.”

And in San Mateo, “the richest earned $810,917 in 2018, while the bottom fifth collected $25,039.”

The California Budget and Policy Center (CBPC) has broken down Census figures statewide and determined there has been a 6.4% increase in household income in California, from $70,744 in 2006 to $75,277 in 2018. According to the CBPC, income increased 18.6% for the top 5% of households ($426,851 in 2006 to $506,421 in 2018). However, the bottom 20% of households saw a decrease in income by 5.3% ($16,441 in 2006 to $15,562 in 2018).


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