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Study: Income Gap In Wisconsin Remains Near Record Levels

Top One Percent Of Earners Account For 16 Percent Of Income In State, Researchers Say

David Goehring (CC-BY)

The income gap between the wealthy and poor in Wisconsin remains at near-record levels, according to a study released on Tuesday.

Conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the non-partisan Wisconsin Budget Project, the study found the top 1 percent of earners took home about 16 percent of the total income in the state in 2013.

That percentage has doubled since 1979, researchers said.

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“Economic gains in Wisconsin are not being widely shared, and a great deal of the total income is being claimed by people who make very high incomes,” said Tamarine Cornelius, an analyst at the Wisconsin Budget Project.

The study also noted the top 1 percent of earners in Wisconsin make about 19 times the average income. That means the top one percent earned an average of $888,000 in 2013.

Cornelius said the findings are bad news for business in the state.

“We’re sort of shooting ourselves in the foot, because we’re making it harder for our economy to grow and to build some of those benefits that are broadly shared,” she said.

The study found the average income of those top earners grew by about 120 percent between 1979 and 2013. Income for the rest of the population grew 4 percent.