Minnesota by the numbers: The rich do keep getting richer

There is a compelling argument to be made that the defining characteristic of the U.S. economy over the past two decades has been the steady rise in income inequality between classes. Sure, there is some truth to the old Reagan era aphorism that that a rising tide can lift all boats. But there is also little disputing that yachts seem to rise a heck of a lot faster than lifeboats. That, in a nutshell, is the chief finding of a recently released study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

On the positive side, this trend has been considerably less pronounced in Minnesota than in most other states. According the Center's analysis, the north star state ranks 42nd in the nation when measured by the income gap between poor families (bottom 20 percent) and rich families (top 20 percent).

Still, the numbers are not without disquieting implications. For instance, while poor Minnesota families saw their incomes increase by an average of $340 per year over the past 20 years, rich families experienced an average annual boost of approximately $2,880. Put another way, the rich have enjoyed a somewhat staggering 85.3 percent spike in earnings over the past two decades. The poor have experienced a far more modest 46.5 percent increase. And what of the remaining 60 percent of the population? According to the Center, they have seen their incomes rise between 46 and 51 percent over the two decades.

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