Economist studying income inequality sees Kansas patterns

Income inequality is an issue that will continue to define politics at every level in the decades to come. The Sandlian Center for Entrepreneurial Government, part of the free-market Kansas Policy Institute has studied the Kansas numbers provided from 2017 data by the U.S. Census Bureau.

“There are actually certain factors in people’s lives that go a long way in explaining who gets wealth and who does not,” said economist Michael Austin.

Some of these are intuitive.

“More than 70 percent of the lowest income households in Kansas do not work,” said Austin. “One factor that can explain the difference between high and low-income Kansans is the fact that low-income Kansans are four times as likely to not work than high income households.”

It’s important to note that those who do not work and are low-income, defined as $25,000 a year or less, are throughout the age spectrum.

“Those under 35 make up about 24% of low-income households,” said Austin. “People who are supposed to be in their prime earning years, that’s 35 to 64, are about 35% of low-income households
and those 65 or older is about 40.5%.”

The highest income households are generally those in the 35 to 64 age bracket and also generally are those who have two incomes in households that are married. Having a bachelor’s degree also seems to result in higher incomes generally.