Economic inequality has grown across Massachusetts...But at least everyone is required to buy health insurance!
While family incomes across Massachusetts have generally risen over the past three decades, the state’s poorest residents have fallen behind. And nowhere have they fallen farther than here in Western Massachusetts, where families in the bottom fifth of the income scale have seen inflation-adjusted earnings drop below 1979 levels, according to a new study by University of Massachusetts economists.
The study paints a stark picture of two commonwealths, in which the gap between rich and poor, east and west is growing. For example, the inflation-adjusted median income of affluent families in Greater Boston has grown 54 percent since 1979, to $230,000 from $150,000 a year, largely due to high-paying technology jobs.
In Berkshire County and the Pioneer Valley, where decades of plant closings have left hollowed-out economies, the inflation-adjusted median income of the poorest families fell 24 percent, from $21,000 a year in 1979 to $16,000 - on par with some of the most impoverished parts of Appalachia.
“No real income growth over three decades is what we’re seeing - no improvement in the standard of living,’’ said Michael D. Goodman, one of the study’s authors. “It’s a lost generation of families.’’
Hat tip to NewsAlert.