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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

November 21, 2012 at 9:58 AM

A star for Seattle’s startup ‘ecosystem’; risks on equality

Seattle gets a boost in a new report on the best global startup cities from the Startup Genome, association with Telefonica Digital and Stanford University and the University of California. We rank No. 4 in the Global Startup Ecosystem Index, behind Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv and Los Angeles.

The index tracks startup activity, funding, performance of startups, “the degree to which founders are visionary and resilient,” trendsetting, the quality of the support network and talent. Among the 20 runner-up cities: Austin, Denver and Portland.

Meanwhile, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities new Pulling Apart report is out, showing ever-wider income disparities, including in Washington. Nationally, average incomes of the richest fifth of households was eight times that of the poorest fifth. The biggest gaps were found in New Mexico, Arizona, California, Georgia, New York, Louisiana, Texas, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Mississippi.

Washington ranked No. 30 on the ratio of incomes between the top and bottom fifths between 2008 and 2010. Oregon ranked 36 and Idaho 43. Iowa came in with the best showing. From the late 1990s through the mid-2000s, the poorest Washington households showed no gains in income; the middle quintile grew 2.4 percent, and the richest 20 percent of households saw income increase 9.4 percent. Since the late 1970s, the poorest quintile’s income grew by 23.6 percent; middle by 36.9 percent, and highest by 69.5 percent.

Historically, Americans moved among income quintiles, often up. More research indicates that this historic mobility has stalled.

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