The city of Atlanta has the widest income gap between the rich and poor of all the major U.S. cities, according to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau. Atlanta ranked just above New Orleans which came in second, followed by Washington, D.C. and Miami from 2005 to 2009.
According to the census, areas with the highest income inequality “tend to be found in cities, with older housing on average, while the most income-segregated areas … tend to be found in the suburbs.”
The increasing gap between the haves and have-nots in Atlanta are reported to be driven by the rise in unemployment, decline in incomes, the creation of fewer jobs and new, expensive housing combining wealth and poverty in the same zip codes. After almost two years of officially ending the recession in 2009, the U.S. unemployment rate remains above 9 percent, and the poverty rate tops 15 percent.
However, the numbers are said to be skewed due to the thousands of college students within the city’s limits, who often lack income.
Occupy Atlanta protestors, who identify themselves as “The 99 Percent,” have formed due to anger and frustration over the inequality in income among Americans. Forming first in New York as Occupy Wall Street the movement has spread to Atlanta where protestors say they want to “end the greed and corruption of the wealthiest 1 percent of America.”
Data released by the Economic Policy Institute shows the top 1 percent of households had 59.9 percent of all the gains in income from 1979 to 2007. The bottom 90 percent had 8.6 percent of the gains illustrating the economies generation of “increasingly unequal economic outcomes” stated by protestors.