Make us your home page

By income, Tampa ranks in top ten of 'most unequal' larger U.S. cities

As if rising income inequality in this country isn't already a front burner debate, now we learn that Tampa again ranks in the top ten "most unequal" larger cities in America.

Among cities with 250,000 populations or more, Tampa ranks No. 8 nationwide for being unequal. What does that mean? A Bloomberg analysis ranked the top ten cities as unequal based on how skewed the incomes in those metro areas are between the rich and the poor. These cities tend to have big pockets of wealth, larger areas of poverty and a relatively thin middle class.

The ranking uses a well known statistical measure known as the "Gini coefficient" calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau. The measure is named for statistician and demographer Corrado Gini and gauges the distribution of income among individuals in an economy.

A Gini index of zero means absolute equality. An index of one means complete inequality. The index rises closer to one when there are concentrations of people at the highest and lowest ends of the income spectrum but fewer people in the middle. Tampa ranked 8th because its Gini coefficient ranks just below 0.55 on a scale of 1. New Orleans, considered the most unequal of U.S. cities, was measured at just under 0.6 on the same scale.

RELATED: Income disparity is growing in Florida, studies show

Geographically, the top ten are widespread. Two are in Florida (Tampa and Miami), four are in the Southeast, seven are Sunbelt cities, two are in the Northeast (New York and Boston), while one is in California (Los Angeles) and one in the Midwest (Cincinnati). All ten are cities with significant minority populations.

The latest Bloomberg ranking builds on similar findings last year, no surprise given that income inequality does not change quickly. Last year's ranking of the 50 most unequal cities in the country included five from Florida, the most of any state. They were Tampa, Miami, Gainesville, West Palm Beach and Tallahassee. Atlanta placed No. 1 nationwide last year.

The United States as a whole, said Bloomberg, has become more unequal over the past five years. Its Gini index rose to 0.48 last year from 0.469 in 2009. But the trend really stretches back to the 1980s.

"The overall story is that inequality has been rising steadily for about the past three decades," Beth Jarosz of the Population Reference Bureau told Bloomberg News.

Contact Robert Trigaux at Follow @venturetampabay.

The ten 'most unequal' U.S. cities by income

1. New Orleans

2. Atlanta

3. Cincinnati

4. Boston

5. Dallas

6. New York

7. Miami

8. Tampa

9. Los Angeles

10. Houston

Source: Bloomberg News, U.S. Census Bureau based on Gini index ranking of income inequality

By income, Tampa ranks in top ten of 'most unequal' larger U.S. cities 11/11/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 11, 2015 9:08am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members


    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  2. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion


    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  3. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]
  4. Trigaux: Tampa Bay health care leaders wary of getting too far ahead in disruptive times


    Are attempts to repeal Obamacare dead for the foreseeable future? Might the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now in dire limbo, be revived? Will Medicaid coverage for the most in need be gutted? Can Republicans now in charge of the White House, Senate and House ever agree to deliver a substitute health care plan that people …

    Natalia Ricabal of Lutz, 12 years old, joined other pediatric cancer patients in Washington in July to urge Congress to protect Medicaid coverage that helped patients like Ricabal fight cancer. She was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in 2013 and has undergone extensive treatments at BayCare's St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. [Courtesy of BayCare]
  5. The Iron Yard coding academy to close in St. Petersburg


    ST. PETERSBURG — The Iron Yard, a code-writing academy with a location in downtown St. Petersburg, will close for good this summer.

    Instructors (from left) Mark Dewey, Jason Perry, and Gavin Stark greet the audience at The Iron Yard, 260 1st Ave. S, in St. Petersburg during "Demo Day" Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, at The Iron Yard, which is an immersive code school that is part of a trend of trying to address the shortage of programmers.  The academy is closing this summer.  [LARA CERRI   |   Times]