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Where are incomes most unequal? The South

March 8, 2012: 3:49 PM ET
income inequality

Income inequality is greatest in Southern counties.

When you think of income inequality, don't picture a luxury condo in Manhattan or a Beverly Hills mansion. Instead, imagine a Southern plantation.

The South had the highest share of counties with the greatest income inequality, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Some 32% of Southern counties ranked in the top fifth in terms of inequality, versus 12% in the Northeast and West each.

The Midwest, meanwhile, has the lowest level in income inequality, with only 8% of counties ranking in the top fifth. It also has the largest share of counties with the lowest inequality.

The county with the greatest income inequality in the nation? East Carroll Parish in the northeast corner of Louisiana. It's a poor county with fewer than 7,800 residents and a median income of just $24,000, compared to $43,400 nationwide.

The most equal county is Loving in Texas. It has just over 80 people living there and they benefit from the land's oil resources. The median income is nearly $84,000.

The Census report is based on data from 2006 to 2010.

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About This Author
Tami Luhby
Tami Luhby
Senior writer, CNNMoney

Tami Luhby is a senior writer at CNNMoney and covers income inequality, state fiscal problems, unemployment, housing policy and other economic issues. Luhby previously covered personal finance for Newsday and banking for Crain's New York Business.

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