Jackson, WY Has The Largest Income Gap in USA by a HUGE Margin:

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Jackson, Wyoming.
Jackson, Wyoming.

A recent economic report released by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows that Jackson, Wyoming is the most economically unequal city in the USA – by an enormous margin.  If fact, Jackson is the most economically unequal city in the USA by 140 fold (see “top-to-bottom ratio in list below).

image: epi.org

image: epi.org, june 16th, 2016
image: epi.org, june 16th, 2016

Both Teton County, ID and Teton County, WY have the top 1% earners bringing in 68.3% of the income with the bottom 90% taking in only 17.3% of the income.  Ouch…

The average income of the top 1% of Jackson is $20 million/year while the other 99% of Jackson is taking home an average income of $94,000/year.  The wealthiest 1% in Jackson are making 213-times more money then the other 99% of the population.

Powder like this at Jackson Hole, WY comes at a price... image: jackson hole
Powder like this at Jackson Hole, WY comes at a price… image: jackson hole

Why is it this way?  Because the uber weather live in Jackson, Wyoming.  Why do they live there?  Because Wyoming is a tax haven for the rich and for corporations.  And not just the rich of the USA, for the rich of the world.  There are no corporate taxes collected in Wyoming and their are no individual income taxes collected.

Wyoming was recently ranked the tax friendliest state in the USA by USA Today.

#1. Wyoming

• Taxes collected per capita: $4,347 (3rd highest)
• Unemployment: 4.9% (5th lowest)
• Corporate taxes collected per capita: none (the lowest)
• Sales tax rate: 4.0% (tied-13th lowest)

Wyoming is the highest-rated state in the nation for business tax policy. Like other states with strong business tax climates, it benefits from the absence of any individual income tax. Like Nevada and South Dakota, which ranked just behind Wyoming for the quality of their business tax climate, Wyoming has neither corporate income tax nor gross receipts tax. But while other states that did not tax income choose instead to tax sales heavily, Wyoming does not. As of January, its state sales tax rate was just 4%, one of the lowest of any state with such a tax. Including the average local sales tax, consumers paid an effective sales tax rate of just 5.3% on purchases, among the lowest in the nation.” – USA Today, March 2013

Does all this make it hard to ski bum in Jackson Hole, WY?  Yes.  Yes it does.  We have many friends who have been priced out of Jackson Hole and had to move to other more affordable ski towns like Salt Lake City, UT.

Powder day at Jackson Hole, WY. photo: jackson hole
Powder day at Jackson Hole, WY. photo: jackson hole

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8 thoughts on “Jackson, WY Has The Largest Income Gap in USA by a HUGE Margin:

  1. I’m a carpenter who lives south of Wilson. I built my own house.
    You want to know why ski bums can’t live here? Two reasons:
    -much of the private land has been tied up in easements. There are thousands of acres that could house plenty of working folks if divided into small lots. Easements and impossible development regulations mean this won’t happen.
    -Ski BUMS. I love to ski. But I wanted a home. So, instead of skiing, I WORKED. Try it.

  2. When government zones off land for development … gee .. the low end folks lise. Look at San Francisco. .. highest real estate in the nation with most radical enviro zoning. This ain’t rocket science folks.

  3. It is a ratio. With just over 10,000 residents, it wold only take few ultra rich to skew the ratio. The only reason Silicon valley is so low on the chart is due to the approx population of 7,000,000 skewing the ratio in the other direction.

  4. Interesting data, but I’m not impressed by the idea of blaming this on tax policy. I would suggest that the combination of a very desirable place to live plus extreme scarcity of developable real estate is what’s at work here.

    I suspect Aspen for example is quite similar. I note Glenwood Springs on that list, and I suspect that includes Pitkin County. I also note #2 on that list in Connecticut, not exactly known for low taxes. No surprise the tax havens (not!) of NYC and Silicon Valley are on there too.

    Teton County, unlike Glenwood Springs on that list, includes very few downvalley communities to spread out the data a little bit. The town proper of Aspen would likely show quite similar result to the town proper of Jackson. Maybe Vail, Telluride and Sun Valley too.

  5. Rich assholes able to put second and third homes where poorer people could never convince the government / park agencies / etc. to allow them to build a home.

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