The Most Economically Unequal States Are Democratic

Philip Bump analyzes Rand Paul’s statement in Tuesday’s Republican debate that “we ought to look where income inequality seems to be the worst. It seems to be worst in cities run by Democrats, … states run by Democrats and countries currently run by Democrats.”

“Data from the Census Bureau suggests that — at least on the states — he’s correct. (Since most large cities are run by Democrats and only one country has a Democratic leader, we’ll set those aside.) Below is a chart showing each state’s Gini coefficient in 2014, from the Census Bureau.


“The top three locations are D.C., New York and Connecticut, all undeniably blue. At the bottom, Utah, Wyoming and Alaska — all red … Beyond the fact that six of the eight most unequal states are blue, there’s actually not much of a link between Gini coefficient and how strongly Democratic the state is — or, for that matter, between the percentage of total income held by the top 1 percent in a state.”

“Paul’s point was a political one, obviously, and while factually accurate, it doesn’t tell us much about why inequality exists and … is growing.”

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