I spent 3 days in Jackson, Wyoming - the most unequal place in America, where the 1% makes more than $16.1 million a year. The experience was nothing like I expected.
- The Jackson, Wyoming, metropolitan area is the most unequal place in the US, according to a 2018 report published by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).
- In the Western resort town, the average income of the richest 1% is more than $16.1 million, while the average income of the bottom 99% is $122,447.
- That means that Jackson's wealthiest inhabitants make 132 times more, on average, than everyone else in the metro area.
- I recently spent three days in the area, and I didn't see the obvious signs of wealth inequality that I'd been expecting, largely because even the bottom 99% are earning well over the state-wide median.
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Instead, it's a tiny Western resort town where billionaires go to ski: Jackson, Wyoming.A 2018 report published by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that in the Jackson metro area - which encompasses Teton County in Wyoming and Teton County in Idaho - wealthiest residents make 132 times more, on average, than everyone else. The average income of the 1% is more than $16.1 million, and the average income of the bottom 99% is $122,447.
In the report, researchers looked at 2015 tax return data to analyze the average income of the top 1% and the bottom 99% of a population, broken down by state, metropolitan area, and county.
As compared to the commonly used Gini coefficient measure of inequality, EPI's measure captures very high incomes better because, as the report notes, "it represents all the taxable income people earn in market transactions, such as the income earned from working for a wage or salary at a job, through interest on a savings account, or from selling a financial asset for more than its purchase cost (a capital gain)."
I recently spent three days in the Wyoming side of the Jackson metro area. Here's what it looks like in the most unequal place in America.
Andy Kiersz contributed to reporting.