The Unequal State of America: A glance at class in the U.S. capital

WASHINGTON, D.C. Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:08pm GMT

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Reuters) - The U.S. capital is unusual in one sense: Median income here rose 17 percent in the past two decades, far better than the overall U.S. decline of 4 percent. Still, the gains were heavily skewed toward the top.

Washington's top fifth of households (up 32 percent) gained more than the next rung down (up 26 percent) - which gained more than the middle rung (up 20 percent), which gained more than the next rung (up 8 percent). Only the bottom fifth saw average income fall, by 8 percent.

As in most of the nation, the District's poverty rate has been rising: It's nearly 19 percent, up two points since 1989. That's higher than the national average of 16 percent and more than twice the rate of the surrounding suburbs.

(Reporting By Himanshu Ojha; Edited by Michael Williams)

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