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Report Examines Income Inequality In Kentucky

Credit Tableau

A new report shows the average income of the top one percent of Kentuckians is more than 18.4 times greater than the average income of state residents.Income for the wealthiest one percent of earners in Kentucky was more than $719,012 in 2015, compared to an average income of almost $39,990 for all other Kentuckians. The report from theEconomic Policy Instituteshows from 2009 to 2015 the top one percent income grew 23.2 percent while everyone else’s income grew only 7.2 percent. Ashley Spalding is a senior policy analyst with the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.  

“The growth in income inequality is the result of policy decisions that have reduced union density and eroded the value of the minimum wage and other baseline labor standards,” Spalding said.


Spalding said lawmakers need to make growing the incomes of working people a top priority. She said increasing the state’s minimum wage and strengthening worker protections could help bridge the income gap.McCracken County has the highest top to bottom ratio with the wealthiest one percent earning $1.5 million on average and everyone else makes $39,357.


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Becca Schimmel is a multimedia journalist with the Ohio Valley ReSource, a collaborative of public radio stations in Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio. She's based out of the WKU Public Radio newsroom in Bowling Green.