The District has one of the highest levels of income inequality among the nation’s cities, with the top fifth earning on average 29 times the income of the bottom fifth.
Only Atlanta and Boston showed higher levels of income inequality in 2010, according to an analysis of census data by the DC Fiscal Policy Institute.
Driving the gap is the enormous gulf between a sliver of top earners and a mass of households with paltry incomes. According to the analysis, the top 5 percent of households in the District averaged $473,000 a year, far above the $292,000 averaged by their counterparts in other large cities.
The inequality remains large farther down the income scale. The city’s top fifth of all households pulled in $259,000 on average.
In contrast, the bottom fifth had an average income of $9,100, close to the norm for low earners in big cities.