Jackson Hole’s reputation for being a playground for the wealthy was further confirmed this week when a study by the Economic Innovation Group found that Wyoming’s Teton County, home to Jackson Hole, has the nation’s highest per-capita income from assets, reports Bloomberg.
Annual income from assets in Teton County is $161,400 per capita. The national average is $8,800 per capita. A South Dakota county has the lowest income from assets with $2,800 per capita.
The report looks at income from interests, dividends, and rents (about 20% of personal income nationwide) and not wages or government assistance. The disparity between counties with the lowest and highest asset income per capita rose sixfold between 1990 and 2019.
Prosperity is not just a function of wages but also of access to reliable ways to save and invest. Asset ownership has unique benefits: assets allow people to have something to fall back on during difficult periods of their lives, be it unemployment, illness, or other financial challenges. Access to assets allows people to plan for the future, set aside for long-term goals like their children’s education or retirement, and invest in their communities or pass something onvto future generations. Asset ownership gives individuals and families a seat at the table in our economic system beyond the wages they earn from their employer. Household financial stability—the freedom to not have to live paycheck to paycheck—is thus a cornerstone of inclusive prosperity. Yet only a minority of Americans own any assets beyond the main three: their homes, cars, and retirement accounts.
The study found a sharp increase in the geographic concentration of asset ownership over the past decades, with Jackson Hole pulling further away from the rest of the country.
Jackson is also the most economically unequal city in the USA – by an enormous margin. In fact, Jackson is the most economically unequal city in the USA by 140 fold (see “top-to-bottom ratio in the list below).
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 make 213-times more money than the other 99% of the population.