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FYI Guy

Seattle Times news librarian Gene Balk crunches the numbers

Topic: income

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January 17, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Income inequality: How bad is Seattle?

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At her inauguration to the Seattle City Council, Kshama Sawant spoke of a divided Seattle — a city of “glittering fortunes” for corporations and the wealthy, but also a city in which the lives of the working poor and unemployed grow increasingly difficult.

volta

Volta, new luxury apartments in Belltown, stands in the shadow of the low-income housing project, Bell Tower. (Photo: Gene Balk/Seattle Times)

Sawant’s speech echoed the “tale of two cities” campaign theme of another newly-elected progressive politician — New York City mayor Bill de Blasio.

While the magnitude of income inequality in New York — and especially Manhattan — is notoriously bad, you don’t hear nearly as much about it in Seattle.  So how do we compare?

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0 Comments | More in Government Data | Topics: Census, income

December 12, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Who voted for socialist Sawant: Income map has some surprises

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Click to enlarge

Did the Seattle City Council race between incumbent Richard Conlin and challenger Kshama Sawant reveal a deep fissure between rich and poor in Seattle?

Looking at a map of the election results, it certainly seems to tell a “Tale of Two Cities,” as The Stranger called it.   Conlin, considered the establishment candidate, handily won nearly all the well-heeled waterfront neighborhoods, while the socialist Sawant ran strong in Seattle’s less-wealthy interior.

But just how close was this correlation between election results and the wealth gap?

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0 Comments | More in Demographics, Government Data | Topics: elections, income, Politics

July 26, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Gender pay gap: Not every city has Seattle’s problem

Stenographers at Seattle Lighting Department, 1935 (Photo: Seattle Municipal Archives)

Stenographers at Seattle Lighting Department, 1935 (Photo: Seattle Municipal Archives)

For proudly progressive Seattle, the news was a bombshell.

A report released in April revealed that our metropolitan area has the widest gender pay gap in the country.  Women here earn 73 cents for every dollar earned by men.

Response has been swift.  The Seattle City Council and Mayor Mike McGinn have taken steps to address wage inequality among city employees.  Councilmember Jean Godden plans to introduce legislation to remedy the gender pay gap citywide.  And candidates in the upcoming Seattle mayoral election were even questioned about the issue in one recent debate.

The city of Seattle has certainly taken its last-place ranking to heart, so this may come as a surprise to many Seattleites: The city did not, in fact, rank last.

The report on gender pay looked at the 50 largest metropolitan areas — not cities — and it is the Seattle metro that ranked last.  The Seattle metro encompasses all of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.  It includes the cities of Tacoma, Bellevue, Everett and all the rest.  With a population of 3.5 million, it is a much larger area than just Seattle.

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0 Comments | More in Demographics | Topics: employment, gender, income

April 8, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Study: Seattle’s gender pay gap worst in the U.S.

Telephone operators in Seattle, 1952 (Photo:Seattle Municipal Archives)

Telephone operators in Seattle, 1952 (Photo:Seattle Municipal Archives)

There are some rankings in which you don’t want to be No. 1.

According to a new study, the Seattle area has the largest wage gap between women and men among 50 major metropolitan areas in the U.S.  The analysis, conducted by workplace-rights group National Partnership for Women & Families, found that full-time employed women in the Seattle area make just 73 cents for every dollar earned by men.  That amounts to a yearly salary discrepancy of $16,346.

Following Seattle as the metro areas with the largest wage gaps are Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Detroit, respectively.  A gender wage gap exists in every metro area studied, but the smallest gap measured is in the Los Angeles area, where women’s salaries are 92 percent of men’s.

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0 Comments | More in Government Data | Topics: income, women, work