From the Occupy Movement to the election of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to the publication of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, rising economic inequality has in recent years registered as one of America’s leading social and political issues, especially in cities. And the numbers back this up: income inequality is indeed higher in many U.S. metros than the nation as a whole.
According to a new study from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, wage inequality has surged across America’s leading metros as well. Wage inequality, which here measures the gap between high- and low-earning workers, is different from income inequality, since incomes also include investments, royalties, and rents as well as wages. Measures of income inequality also include the poor who do not work and those who are out of the workforce. My own research has shown a stunning gap in wage inequality, especially in America’s leading tech hubs, with their huge concentrations of high-paid tech workers and the creative class.