These 19 Metro Areas Have the Biggest Wealth Gaps, Study Finds

It's hard to ignore income inequality in these places.

Income creates a disparity in every U.S. city, but the gap is significantly larger in some areas than in others. And a study recently completed by GOBankingRates highlighted 19 cities where the distribution of wealth is striking.

Despite the cities’ geographic proximity to one another, the extreme levels of affluence and poverty in these cities mean residents in each group essentially are living in different worlds. 

To identify the U.S. cities most divided by wealth, GOBankingRates analyzed the 100 largest metro areas in the country based on four factors: average income of the top 1 percent, average income of the bottom 99 percent, median household income of the wealthiest city in the metro area and median household income of the poorest city in the metro area. Cities were then scored and ranked in order of inequality.

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©GOBankingRates

No two cities have the exact same income discrepancy, but the overarching problem is evident in each one — a shrinking middle class. Extremes on both ends of the wealth spectrum mean fewer people fit into what traditionally is considered the largest economic class in the country.

Interestingly, four of the top five metropolitan areas on the list are in Florida. In total, “The Sunshine State” is ranked six times, indicating a major divide between the rich and poor throughout the state.

Surprisingly, the New York City metro region didn’t make the list despite being long-considered one of the most expensive areas to live in the country. However, two regions located within a couple of hours of the area did make the cut.

Here are the 19 cities that displayed the biggest income gaps in the study:

 RankMetro/CityAverage Income of Top 1%Average Income of Bottom 99%Top-to-Bottom RatioMedian Income – Top NeighborhoodMedian Income – Bottom Neighborhood
1Bridgeport-Stamford, Conn.$6,061,230$82,22273.7$205,688$41,050
2Sebastian-Vero Beach, Fla.$2,519,981$39,71063.5$217,375$27,239
3Miami$1,789,754$39,77845$250,000$20,338
4Port St. Lucie, Fla.$1,393,985$36,01538.7$250,000$23,125
5Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Fla.$4,191,055$57,25873.2$102,997$11,386
6Houston$1,691,321$59,16128.6$250,000$12,500
7San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif.$2,168,628$70,99430.5$239,886$35,288
8Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.$1,344,847$40,16933.5$172,981$17,941
9Dallas$1,332,359$53,69224.8$194,517$20,644
10Boston$1,963,545$64,13530.6$168,690$32,851
11Reno, Nev.$1,332,600$39,72633.5$143,804$24,722
12Trenton, N.J.$1,632,830$60,24527.1$147,778$14,145
13Las Vegas$1,459,955$35,89540.7$91,851$25,938
14Santa Fe, N.M.$1,410,235$46,59030.3$102,614$9,516
15North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla.$1,353,983$38,92134.8$92,560$23,368
16Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif.$1,455,805$48,49230$113,646$29,146
17Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark.$1,594,106$48,15133.1$81,607$23,375
18Atlanta$1,025,362$48,35621.2$108,464$17,118
19New Orleans$961,042$44,02521.8$105,710$16,604

 

Keep reading to discover the secret wealth behind these big cities.

Methodology: To identify the U.S. areas most divided by wealth, GOBankingRates analyzed the 100 largest metro areas in the country according to four factors: (1) average income of the top 1 percent; (2) average income of the bottom 99 percent, sourced from the Economic Policy Institute; (3) median household income of the wealthiest city in the metro area; and (4) median household income of the poorest city in the metro area, sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau. Metro areas were scored and ranked based on the four factors.