American household incomes grew slowly during much of the past decade, according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute. The study revealed that the median income of four-person families, adjusted for inflation, grew 0.4 percent annually from 1989 to 1998. (See page 21 for more on the report.)
Many Southern states had growth rates that outpaced the national rate. In Texas, for instance, median incomes grew at an annual rate of 1.2 percent during the 1990s. Midwestern states such as Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa all had higher growth rates in the 1990s than in the 1980s. Income wasn't the only thing that rose; so did inequality. By the end of the 1990s, for example, the average income of the richest fifth of New York families was 14.1 times that of the poorest fifth.
The chart below shows the states where median family income is the highest and lowest:
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