Middle Class In Every Pa. County Has Shrunk Since 1970s (Press Release from KRC)

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The Keystone Research Center has released a report detailing how the income share for Pennsylvania’s middle class has shrunk since 1978 in each county.  The full text of their press release is below.  New Census data on the uninsured for Pennsylvania and it’s counties for 2013 will be out tomorrow to give us a glimpse of how the Affordable Care Act has impacted our state.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SEP. 16, 2014
 
Media Contact: Mark Price, 717-255-7158, price@keystoneresearch.org
Middle Class In Every Pa. County Has Shrunk Since 1970s
Meanwhile, top incomes in every county have surged
HARRISBURG, PA (Sept. 16, 2014) — Pennsylvania’s middle class is smaller, while the
top 1% of earners enjoy a larger share of income, in every county in Pennsylvania today
as compared to the late 1970s, according to a new report from the Keystone Research
Center.
“This report quantifies what most working Pennsylvanians have sensed for years. It’s
harder today to find a job that pays enough to lift a family into the middle class,” said
Mark Price, KRC’s labor economist and coauthor of the report. “Traditional gateways to
a middle-class income such as a manufacturing job, or more broadly a job with union
representation, are less common today than they were a generation ago.”
The Center’s report finds that:
The counties or county groups with the largest percent decline in the share of
households with middle-class incomes are:
o Delaware (only half (50.9%) of households in the middle-class, a decline of
more than a fifth (20.9%) since the late 1970s);
o Philadelphia (43.1% in the middle class, a shrinkage of a fifth (20.2%));
o Columbia, Luzerne, Montour & Northumberland (53.3% in the middle
class, down by nearly a fifth (19.3%));
o Bucks (56.8% middle-class share, a shrinkage of more than a sixth (17.6%));

o Erie (55.1% middle-class share, down a sixth (16.7%));

o Chester (54.8% middle-class share down nearly a sixth (15.9%));
o Westmoreland (55.6% in the middle class, down by 15.8% to);
o Allegheny (53.0% in the middle class, down 15.6%);
 o Armstrong & Indiana (53.7% middle-class share, down 15.6%);
 o Lebanon (58.2% middle class, a 15.0% decline); and
 o Centre (half of households in the middle class (50.1%), down 15.0%.
The counties or county groups with the largest middle-class share in 2010-12 are:
 Cumberland & Perry (59.3%); Adams, Franklin & York (58.8%); Schuylkill
 (58.6%); Lebanon (58.2%); Butler (58.1%); Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Elk,
 Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Potter & Venango (58.1%); Bedford, Blair, Cambria,
 Fulton, Huntingdon & Somerset (58.0%); Lancaster (58.0%); Clinton, Juniata,
 Mifflin, Lycoming, Snyder & Union (57.6%); and Crawford & Warren (56.8%).
The counties or county groups with the smallest middle-class share in 2010-12 are:
Philadelphia (43.1%); Centre (50.1%); Delaware (50.9%); Allegheny (53.0%);
Columbia, Luzerne, Montour, & Northumberland (53.3%); Armstrong & Indiana
(53.7%); Chester (54.8%); Fayette, Greene & Washington (54.9%); Erie (55.1%);

Dauphin (55.3%); Bradford, Carbon, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Monroe,

Northampton, Pike, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wayne & Wyoming (55.3%).

“This report builds on our previous work examining state-level trends in incomes by
looking at the growth of top incomes in every one of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties,” said
Estelle Sommeiller, a socio-economist at the Institute For Research in Economics and
Social Sciences in France.
“What is evident in this new data across rural, urban and suburban counties in
Pennsylvania is a striking surge in top incomes. In 1978, the share of total income
captured by the top 1% of taxpayers did not exceed 10% in any county in Pennsylvania.
By 2011, the top 1% captured more than 10% in all but six counties,” said Sommeiller.
With respect to top incomes the Center’s report finds that:
In NO Pennsylvania county between 1978 and 2011 did the income growth of the
bottom 99% exceed the income growth of the top 1%.
Over this same period, the real income of the bottom 99% of taxpayers grew in only
21 of the 67 counties.
Between 1978 and 2011, the counties with the greatest percent increase in real
income growth among the top 1% were: Forest (757%), Bucks (278%), Chester
(250%), McKean (245%), Greene (238%), Washington (211%), Bradford (208%),
Potter (203%), Delaware (202%) and Susquehanna (193%).
The 10 counties with the largest share of all income earned by the top 1% in 2011
are: Forest (33.9%), McKean (25.2%), Somerset (21.0%), Montgomery (20.3%),
Allegheny (20.0%), Delaware (18.7%), Philadelphia (18.1%), Potter (18.0%),
Greene (17.9%) and Chester (17.6%).
The 10 counties with the smallest share of all income earned by the top 1% in 2011
are: Franklin (11.1%), Bedford (10.7%), Lebanon (10.3%), Fulton (10.0%),
Huntingdon (9.9%), Carbon (9.9%), Monroe (9.6%), Snyder (9.5%), Juniata
(9.1%) and Perry (6.7%).

“Taken together,these trends – the shrinking middle class and the rapid rise in top

incomes – are quite troubling. Their reversal requires urgent action by policymakers in
Harrisburg and Washington,” Sommeiller said.
This data points clearly to the need for policymakers to raise the minimum wage in
Pennsylvania, which today has 15 percent less purchasing power than it did in 1979.
Such a move would be a modest first step to push more working families closer to the
middle class,” Price said.

Read the full report at http://keystoneresearch.org/publications/research/divergentfortunes

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