Colorado Places With Biggest Income Gap Between the Rich and the Rest
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Colorado Places With Biggest Income Gap Between the Rich and the Rest

A recent study demonstrates how enormous the gap is between those with incomes in the top 1 percent and the other 99 percent in cities and counties across Colorado.

The vast majority of residents in the Colorado city with the heftiest difference make around 45 times less than the community's wealthiest 1 percent. That figure jumps to more than 72 times less for the county with the largest disparity between the richest few and the rest of the citizenry.

These revelations are included in "The New Gilded Age," from the Washington, D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute. Authors Estelle Sommeiller and Mark Price reveal that income inequality has gone up in all fifty states since the 1970s, and that process has accelerated almost everywhere since the 2009 period associated with what's commonly called the Great Recession. In 2015, the most recent year for which data is available, an American family in the top 1 percent received in excess of 26 times more income as one in the bottom 99 percent.

The ratio in five Colorado metro areas is above that average, with two of them — Glenwood Springs and Steamboat Springs — among the sixteen places with the greatest top-to-bottom ratios nationwide.

A similar scenario applies to Colorado counties. Indeed, Pitkin, which includes Aspen, has the seventh-largest chasm between the 1 percent and the 99 percent of 3,016 U.S. counties analyzed. And seven other counties in the state have a top-to-bottom ratio greater than the 23.9 national multiplier circa 1928, the peak the year before the start of the Great Depression.

Colorado as a whole places in twentieth position when it comes to the largest income gap. The average income of the state's top 1 percent is $1,261,053, as compared to $61,165 for the 99 percent left over. The latter is 20.6 times lower than the former. To put it another way, the average 99 percenter makes about a nickel for every dollar earned by the average 1 percenter.

Below, we've focused on all seventeen Colorado cities (out of 916 across the country) and the 57 Colorado counties (from a total of 3,061) included in the institute's examination. The items include the average income of the top 1 percent for each entrant, the average income of the bottom 99 percent, the top-to-bottom ratio and their national ranking. They've been placed in descending order.

As you'll see, rural communities and counties tend to have less income inequality, while larger cities and mountain resort towns skew higher. But this rule isn't iron-clad. For example, both Colorado Springs and its county, El Paso, are in the middle of the pack when it comes to the size of the gap, not near the top, and modest-sized Sterling and its county, Logan, sport a discrepancy considerably larger than the 19.8 ratio for metro Denver and the 28.0 ratio for Denver County.

Oh, yeah: Places where the top 1 percent make ten times more than the other 99 percent are mighty rare, particularly in Colorado. Continue for the concerning details.
RATIO OF TOP 1 PERCENT INCOME TO BOTTOM 99 PERCENT INCOME FOR COLORADO METROPOLITAN AREAS, 2015

Craig, Colorado.
Craig, Colorado.
YouTube file photo

Number 17: Craig

Average income of the top 1 percent: $484,970
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $46,317
Top-to-bottom ratio: 10.5
Ranking out of 916 U.S. cities: 843

Number 16: Cañon City

Average income of the top 1 percent: $441,889
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $35,746
Top-to-bottom ratio: 12.4
Ranking out of 916 U.S. cities: 720

Number 15: Colorado Springs

Average income of the top 1 percent: $691,700
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $53,458
Top-to-bottom ratio: 12.9
Ranking out of 916 U.S. cities: 680

Number 14: Fort Morgan

Average income of the top 1 percent: $552,933
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $41,974
Top-to-bottom ratio: 13.2
Ranking out of 916 U.S. cities: 658

Number 13: Greeley

Average income of the top 1 percent: $786,721
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $59,174
Top-to-bottom ratio: 13.3
Ranking out of 916 U.S. cities: 647

Number 12: Montrose

Average income of the top 1 percent: $502,969
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $37,278
Top-to-bottom ratio: 13.5
Ranking out of 916 U.S. cities: 631

Number 11: Pueblo

Average income of the top 1 percent: $524,019
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $36,792
Top-to-bottom ratio: 14.2
Ranking out of 916 U.S. cities: 563

Grand Junction, Colorado.
Grand Junction, Colorado.
YouTube file photo

Number 10: Grand Junction

Average income of the top 1 percent: $667,500
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $43,664
Top-to-bottom ratio: 15.3
Ranking out of 916 U.S. cities: 476

Number 9: Durango

Average income of the top 1 percent: $1,023,976
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $58,667
Top-to-bottom ratio: 17.5
Ranking out of 916 U.S. cities: 314

Number 8: Fort Collins

Average income of the top 1 percent: $1,161,138
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $61,710
Top-to-bottom ratio: 18.8
Ranking out of 916 U.S. cities: 225

Number 7: Denver-Aurora-Lakewood

Average income of the top 1 percent: 1,348,073
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $68,017
Top-to-bottom ratio: 19.8
Ranking out of 916 U.S. cities: 180

Number 6: Breckenridge

Average income of the top 1 percent: $1,749,352
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $84,121
Top-to-bottom ratio: 20.8
Ranking out of 916 U.S. cities: 138

Number 5: Boulder

Average income of the top 1 percent: $2,049,421
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $77,448
Top-to-bottom ratio: 26.5
Ranking out of 916 U.S. cities: 44

Number 4: Sterling

Average income of the top 1 percent: $1,055,819
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $39,247
Top-to-bottom ratio: 26.9
Ranking out of 916 U.S. cities: 40

Number 3: Edwards

Average income of the top 1 percent: $2,567,254
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $82,763
Top-to-bottom ratio: 31.0
Ranking out of 916 U.S. cities: 31

Number 2: Steamboat Springs

Average income of the top 1 percent: $2,507,070
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $71,006
Top-to-bottom ratio: 35.3
Ranking out of 916 U.S. cities: 17

Number 1: Glenwood Springs

Average income of the top 1 percent: $2,968,276
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $66,015
Top-to-bottom ratio: 45.0
Ranking out of 916 U.S. cities: 8

RATIO OF TOP 1 PERCENT INCOME TO BOTTOM 99 PERCENT INCOME FOR COLORADO COUNTIES, 2015

Rio Blanco County.
Rio Blanco County.
YouTube file photo

Number 57: Rio Blanco County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $387,586
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $48,825
Top-to-bottom ratio: 7.9
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 2,959

Number 56: Lake County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $327,983
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $36,281
Top-to-bottom ratio: 9.0
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 2,780

Number 55: Teller County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $514,066
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $52,739
Top-to-bottom ratio: 9.7
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 2,610

Number 54: Adams County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $548,430
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $55,944
Top-to-bottom ratio: 9.8
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 2,596

Number 53: Lincoln County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $402,267
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $40,301
Top-to-bottom ratio: 10.0
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 2,542

Number 52: Otero County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $288,984
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $28,899
Top-to-bottom ratio: 10.0
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 2,535

Number 51: Park County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $450,462
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $43,654
Top-to-bottom ratio: 10.3
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 2,454

Number 50: Moffat County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $484,970
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $46,317
Top-to-bottom ratio: 10.5
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 2,403

Number 49: Conejos County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $294,163
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $27,854
Top-to-bottom ratio: 10.6
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 2,378

Number 48: Elbert County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $891,282
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $82,228
Top-to-bottom ratio: 10.8
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 2,297

Crowley County.
Crowley County.
YouTube file photo

Number 47: Crowley County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $276,548
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $24,331
Top-to-bottom ratio: 11.4
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 2,119

Number 46: Sedgwick County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $405,557
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $34,980
Top-to-bottom ratio: 11.6
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 2,022

Number 45: Las Animas County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $377,449
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $32,255
Top-to-bottom ratio: 11.7
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 1,987

Number 44: Broomfield County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $1,010,262
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $84,535
Top-to-bottom ratio: 12.0
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 1,913

Number 43: Delta County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $420,467
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $34,523
Top-to-bottom ratio: 12.2
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 1,838

Number 42: Alamosa County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $430,866
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $35,013
Top-to-bottom ratio: 12.3
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 1,792

Number 41: Fremont County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $441,889
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $35,746
Top-to-bottom ratio: 12.4
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 1,766

Number 40: Costilla County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $273,364
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $22,061
Top-to-bottom ratio: 12.4
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 1,750

Number 39: Baca County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $331,392
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $26,468
Top-to-bottom ratio: 12.5
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 1,702

Number 38: Bent County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $321,153
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $25,410
Top-to-bottom ratio: 12.6
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 1,665

Huerfano County.EXPAND
Huerfano County.
YouTube file photo

Number 37: Huerfano County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $315,027
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $24,823
Top-to-bottom ratio: 12.7
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 1,654

Number 36: El Paso County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $698,559
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $53,487
Top-to-bottom ratio: 13.1
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 1,540

Number 35: Morgan County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $552,933
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $41,974
Top-to-bottom ratio: 13.2
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 1,502

Number 34: Weld County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $786,721
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $59,174
Top-to-bottom ratio: 13.3
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 1,466

Number 33: Phillips County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $595,803
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $44,770
Top-to-bottom ratio: 13.3
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 1,463

Number 32: Kit Carson County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $486,039
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $36,175
Top-to-bottom ratio: 13.4
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 1,431

Number 31: Montrose County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $502,969
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $37,278
Top-to-bottom ratio: 13.5
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 1,414

Number 30: Chaffee County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $640,646
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $46,083
Top-to-bottom ratio: 13.9
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 1,292

Number 29: Pueblo County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $524,019
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $36,792
Top-to-bottom ratio: 14.2
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 1,216

Number 28: Washington County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $480,053
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $33,303
Top-to-bottom ratio: 14.4
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 1,185

Jefferson County.
Jefferson County.
YouTube file photo

Number 27: Jefferson County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $1,052,369
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $69,703
Top-to-bottom ratio: 15.1
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 1,038

Number 26: Custer County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $611,587
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $40,028
Top-to-bottom ratio: 15.3
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 1,006

Number 25: Mesa County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $667,500
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $43,664
Top-to-bottom ratio: 15.3
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 1,004

Number 24: Prowers County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $456,490
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $29,423
Top-to-bottom ratio: 15.5
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 962

Number 23: Gilpin County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $737,375
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $45,554
Top-to-bottom ratio: 16.2
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 841

Number 22: Rio Grande County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $612,782
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $37,432
Top-to-bottom ratio: 16.4
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 817

Number 21: Clear Creek County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $950,866
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $56,335
Top-to-bottom ratio: 16.9
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 734

Number 20: Gunnison County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $837,964
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $48,186
Top-to-bottom ratio: 17.4
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 662

Number 19: La Plata County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $1,023,976
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $58,667
Top-to-bottom ratio: 17.5
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 658

Douglas County.
Douglas County.
YouTube file photo

Number 18: Douglas County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $1,861,281
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $104,980
Top-to-bottom ratio: 17.7
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 621

Number 17: Saguache County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $321,211
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $17,638
Top-to-bottom ratio: 18.2
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 569

Number 16: Montezuma County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $675,427
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $37,066
Top-to-bottom ratio: 18.2
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 566

Number 15: Grand County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $1,137,110
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $61,212
Top-to-bottom ratio: 18.6
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 534

Number 14: Archuleta County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $800,058
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $42,765
Top-to-bottom ratio: 18.7
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 519

Number 13: Larimer County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $1,161,138
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $61,710
Top-to-bottom ratio: 18.8
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 509

Number 12: Yuma County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $788,670
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $41,362
Top-to-bottom ratio: 19.1
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 491

Number 11: Summit County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $1,749,352
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $84,121
Top-to-bottom ratio: 20.8
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 340

Number 10: Ouray

Average income of the top 1 percent: $1,257,551
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $58,045
Top-to-bottom ratio: 21.7
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 286

Number 9: Arapahoe County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $1,520,877
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $66,081
Top-to-bottom ratio: 23.0
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 226

Number 8: Garfield County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $1,493,003
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $57,940
Top-to-bottom ratio: 25.8
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 156

Boulder County.
Boulder County.
YouTube file photo

Number 7: Boulder County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $2,049,421
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $77,448
Top-to-bottom ratio: 26.5
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 132

Number 6: Logan County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $1,055,819
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $39,247
Top-to-bottom ratio: 26.9
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 120

Number 5: Denver County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $1,687,561
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $60,245
Top-to-bottom ratio: 28.0
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 107

Number 4: Eagle County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $2,567,254
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $82,763
Top-to-bottom ratio: 31.0
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 80

Number 3: Routt County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $2,507,070
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $71,006
Top-to-bottom ratio: 35.3
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 49

Number 2: San Miguel County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $4,515,363
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $65,281
Top-to-bottom ratio: 69.2
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 8

Number 1: Pitkin County

Average income of the top 1 percent: $6,620,969
Average income of the bottom 99 percent: $91,714
Top-to-bottom ratio: 72.2
Ranking out of 3.061 counties: 7

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