closing the gap

Dallas bucks national trend of growing income inequality, study shows

Dallas bucks national trend of growing income inequality, study shows

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Bucking national trends, Dallas' income gap was virtually unchanged between 2008 and 2017. Tomasz Zajda/EyeEm/Getty Images

Income inequality within and across the country's largest metros is on the rise, but in Dallas it remains virtually unchanged, according to a new study.

Apartment List analyzed the 100 largest U.S. metros to determine how much the income gap between the 90th and 10th percentile of earners changed from 2008 to 2017. The study finds Dallas had one of the lowest increases, growing a very slight 0.9 percent during that period.

In 2008, Dallasites in the 90th percentile (households that earn more than 90 percent of a population) made 10 times more than those in the 10th percentile (households with less income than 90 percent of a population), with incomes of $150,400 and $15,000, respectively.

By 2017, the 90th percentile income grew to $182,100, while the 10th percentile income increased to $18,000, meaning top Dallas earners made 10.1 times more than the lowest earners, resulting in the slight increase cited in the report.

Locally, the gap may have remained relatively unchanged, but growing housing costs are amplifying income disparity nationwide, Apartment List says. "Americans in the bottom 10 percent of the income distribution have experienced the most rapid growth in housing costs over the past ten years. Moving up the income ladder, the richer a household gets the less it has seen rents and mortgage payments spike."

Dallas mirrors that trend. From 2008-2017, housing costs increased 13 percent for Dallas households earning less than the national median income and just 5 percent for households earning above that level.

The gap is more stark for the poorest Americans. In Dallas' case, the bottom 25 percent of households earn 72 percent less than the median household income, but they face comparable housing costs, just 11 percent less than what median households pay, according to Apartment List.

Elsewhere in Texas, income inequality varies.

Houston ranks worst in Texas and 11th in the nation, with an income gap that grew an eye-popping 16.3 percent from 2008-2017. There's better news in San Antonio and Austin, which are among only five cities studied where the income gap actually decreased. San Antonio recorded a 6.3 percent decrease in its income inequality, while Austin comes in first among Texas metros and second in the U.S. with a 9.5 percent decline in income inequality over the period studied.