When it comes to income inequality, Morgan County is among the least unequal counties in West Virginia – and in the United States.
That’s according to a 2018 report published by Mark Price, an economist at the Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Estelle Sommeiller, a socio-economist at the Institute for Research in Economic and Social Sciences in France. The study was posted at the web site of the Economic Policy Institute.
To determine income inequality, the authors compared the average income of the top one percent to the average income of the bottom 99 percent and came up with a top to bottom ratio.
The average person in the top one percent in Morgan County made $277,066, while the average person in the bottom 99 percent made $31,967. That means Morgan County had a top to bottom ratio of 8.7, making it the 51st most unequal county in the state out of 55 counties. Or to put it another way, Morgan County was the fifth least unequal county in West Virginia.
Berkeley County at 55 was the least unequal county in the state with a top to bottom ratio of 7.8 ($354,849 for the one percent average and $45,565 for the 99 percent average) and Jefferson County was the third least unequal county in the state with a top to bottom ratio of 8.4 ($476,925 for the one percent average and $56,457 for the 99 percent average.)
On the whole, the top 1 percent of families in the United States took home an average of 26.3 times as much income as the bottom 99 percent – an increase from 2013, when they earned 25.3 times as much.
The report found that in West Virginia on the whole, the average income of the top one percent was $535,648. You would need an income of $258,078 to make it into the top one percent in West Virginia.
The average income for the bottom 99 percent was $34,987. That means that the top one percent makes 15.3 times the bottom 99 percent in West Virginia.
Morgan County is also one of the least unequal counties in the United States – coming in at 2851 out of 3061 counties or county equivalents measured in the report.
According to the report, the most unequal county in the country is Teton County, Wyoming, which has an average income for the top one percent of $22 million and an average income for the bottom 99 percent of $158,290 – putting its top to bottom ratio at 142.2.
Teton county is the subject of a new book coming in March 2021 from Princeton University Press titled Billionaire Wilderness: The Ultra-Wealthy and the Remaking of the American West by Justin Farrell.