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NM income gap continues to grow

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State: Difference in wages is the largest in nation

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The gap between wealthy households and low-income families continues to grow in New Mexico, and the difference between their incomes is now the largest in the nation, according to a study released this week.
From 2008 to 2010, the richest 5 percent of households had average incomes that were nearly 17 times higher than the bottom 20 percent of households, according to the report from the Washington, D.C.-based groups Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute. That’s a jump from two years earlier, when the difference was around 14 times.
In addition, household income for the richest 20 percent of households in New Mexico was 9.9 times greater than for the poorest 20 percent, the report said. That’s the highest ratio in the nation.
Arizona had the second highest ratio, at 9.8-to-1, followed by California, with a ratio of 9.5-to-1.
Across all states, the average income of the richest fifth of households was eight times higher than the poorest fifth, the study showed.
Elizabeth McNichol, a fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and a co-author of the report, said growing inequality in New Mexico follows a trend that began in the 1970s and has gotten progressively worse as the state’s economy struggles.