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Wisconsin’s Income Gap Continues To Grow

Report: Top 1 Percent Have Annual Income Of At Least $335K

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Lynne Sladky/AP Photo

A report from the Wisconsin Budget Project and COWS shows the state’s income gap continues to grow.

Wisconsin’s richest residents are getting richer while others are seeing little or no income growth, according to the report.

Wisconsin’s top 1 percent of earners had an income of $335,000 a year or higher in 2014, with an average annual income of $933,000. Meanwhile, 99 percent of Wisconsinites earned on average $48,000 a year, said Laura Dresser, associate director of COWS.

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Dresser said the disparity has been growing over the last four decades in Wisconsin.

“The top 20 percent of incomes are bringing in 20 times the income that the average income of the entire rest of the state,” she said.

The average average income of the top 1 percent in the U.S. is about $1.28 million compared to $933,000 in Wisconsin, the report states. The average income of the remaining 99 percent in the United States is $47,000, compared to $48,000 in Wisconsin.

Nationally, Dresser said Wisconsin’s income disparity is about average. She said that is partly because the state isn’t home to many large, corporate headquarters.

The top 1 percent took home 1 out of every 6 dollars of income in Wisconsin in 2014, the state reports.

The ramifications of such income disparities go beyond personal budgets.

“As you generate inequality, you undermine the kind of shared experience that helps generate support for schools or parks or roads,” Dresser said. “You kind of lose your public space as people have the resources to become more and more private.”