A report issued by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute found that the richest fifth of Rhode Island households saw their income almost double between the late 1970s to the mid-2000s, while the poorest fifth saw their income increase by just 12 percent. The middle fifth saw their income rise by 42 percent during this time period.
In the late 1970s, the richest fifth’s income was 4.5 times higher than the poorest fifth’s, but by the mid-2000s, the wealthy in Rhode Island made 8.1 times more than the poor.
Nationally, between the late 1970s and mid-2000s the richest fifth experienced a 71 percent increase in income while the poorest fifth of Americans saw their income increase by only 7 percent.
The study also includes a snapshot of income inequality in the late 2000s, which shows that in Rhode Island, the average income of the richest fifth ($167,950) is 7.5 times higher than the average income of the poorest fifth ($22,482) and 2.5 times higher than the middle fifth ($67,194).