Seattle’s Money Problem
Inequality is a huge issue in the United States as well as all around the world: specifically in Seattle, there is a huge unequal distribution of wealth. In 2016, this was shown by Seattle’s Gini Index passing 50. The Gini Index is a number that is used to asses income inequality in cities all across the nation. The index can be a number anywhere from 0-100; the higher the number, the more unequally wealth is distributed. This means that a society where everyone has the same income will have a score of 0, and a society where one person has all the wealth would score 100. On average, Seattle has fallen between 48 and 49 on the index, but in 2016, it jumped 3 points within a year, to 50.4. This is the second biggest increase between in the United States, and the first time Seattle has crossed 50.
The average income for the top 20 percent of Seattle households went up by more than $40,000 last year, averaging $318,000/year. Yet they took home 53 percent of all the income earned. Conversely, the bottom 20 percent of households saw an average decline over the course of the year. This could be due to Seattle’s move toward a $15 minimum wage, since employers can no longer afford multiple employees, choosing instead to employ fewer people due to the higher minimum wage.
This is an issue all across the United States, but we seem to do little about it. We need to begin where the problem is the biggest issue; in cities where there are tons of industry and money, but at the same time so many homeless and unemployed. We need to fix this to save lives, and improve the quality of life for all of us here on earth.
The imbalance of wealth in America is so large that we cannot fix it immediately; to implement change, we mustinvest in the future, and change our ways for generations yet to come. We can begin by investing in education. Education is the single best tool that any group of people can use to pull themselves out of the lower class. Additionally, those who have an education will have a larger social network that they can use. They can use this network to gain access to new, better paying jobs. This leads to more and more people working in the upper class, which will help mend the gap between the upper and lower classes. I hope to help enact these changes by raising awareness about the imbalance of wealth not only in Seattle, but all across the United States, and eventually the World.