The income gap between the poorest and richest states in the United States is gradually closing, according to the Executive Report. In 1940, per capita income in the poorest one- fifth of the states was only 36 percent of that in the top fifth. By 1978, the average income of the bottom fifth had reached 72 percent of the top fifth.
Personal income consists mainly of wages, salaries and the income of the self-employed, but also includes dividends, interest and rents, and transfers such as social security and welfare.
The fastest income growth has been in the Southern and Western states. Per capita income in 1978 was more than $7,800 nationally but averaged about $6,800 in the Southeast and $7,500 in the Rockies and Southwest.