Pulling
Apart:

A State-by-State Analysis of Income Trends

**OREGON**

Inequality has been increasing in Oregon for nearly two decades. This can be observed by ranking all Oregon families with children according to their income level, dividing them into five groups (or fifths) of equal size, and calculating the average income of each fifth of families. This analysis shows by the mid-1990s:

- The richest 20 percent of families with children had average incomes over 10 times as large as the poorest 20 percent of families.

- The richest 20 percent of families with children had average incomes 2.6 times as large as the middle 20 percent of families.

**The Long-Term Trend**

Since the late 1970s, income inequality has increased in Oregon. The long-term economic growth of the past two decades was not shared evenly among the poor, the rich, and the middle class. Instead, the top fifth of families with children fared substantially better than other income groups.

The gap between the top fifth of families and the bottom fifth of families grew by 46 percent since the 1970s.

- The average income of the poorest fifth of families fell by $2,580 between the late 1970s and the mid-1990s, from $12,210 to $9,630.

- The average income of the middle fifth of families fell by $4,850 between the late 1970s and the mid-1990s, from $42,442 to $37,590.

- The average income of the richest fifth of families increased by $12,510 between the late 1970s and the mid-1990s, from $85,080 to $97,590.

**The Recent Trend**

Over the past decade, income inequality has increased in Oregon. While the average incomes of poor and middle income families with children have fallen since the mid-1980s, the average income of the richest fifth of families has stayed approximately level.

The gap between the top fifth of families and the bottom fifth of families increased between the mid-1980s and the mid-1990s faster than in all but 15 states. The gap between the rich and the middle class also rose.

- The average income of the poorest fifth of families decreased by about $1,810 between the mid-1980s and the mid-1990s, from $11,440 to $9,630.

- The average income of the middle fifth of families decreased by $3,260 between the mid-1980s and the mid-1990s, from $40,850 to $37,590.

- The average income of the richest
fifth of families increased by $5,120 between the
mid-1980s and the mid-1990s, from $92,470 to $97,590.
^{(1)}

**End Notes**

1. The direction of this change was not statistically significant at the 95 percent level of confidence.