The disparity of income earned by different workers is a big topic in the country. N.C. State University economist Mike Walden brings the issue home, considering where North Carolina and regions within the state rank on differences in pay and income.
“Well, first of all … if you look at North Carolina as a whole, a recent calculation suggests that North Carolina’s income equality measure is very, very close to the national average. So, as a state we’re not different than the nation. But if you look within our state, you do see big differences in income and equality.
“First, let’s look at the larger metro areas. What you find is metro areas like the Durham/Chapel Hill area, Charlotte and Greensboro have much higher income and equality indices than do Winston-Salem and the Raleigh/Cary metro areas. That’s one interesting finding.
“Secondly, if you compare urban and rural counties, what we tend to find is the highest income inequality tends to be in rural areas. In fact, the disparities in income (are) highest among counties in the far west and rural counties along the I-95 corridor in the east. And all of these differences have to do with the availability of jobs, the level of education and the resulting pay levels.”