Boston’s bottom 99% actually earns more on average than the national mean wage, but it pales in comparison to the income of its top 1%, which makes 32 times more than the bottom. Credit: Getty Royalty Free

One cannot avoid facing the fact that in several parts of the United States (if not, most parts) the top earners are getting richer, while the middle-to-lower-middle income majority are getting poorer. And there are unnerving, clear examples of this trend across all levels of geography, from the city-level up to the state-level.

After analyzing Census Bureau American Community Survey data from 2011 through 2016, five U.S. states in particular display unsettling levels of income inequality and, worse, its continuing rapid growth. The principal factors evaluated were the mean household income and median household income in 2011; their growth over the five years from 2011 to 2016; and the consequent growth in the gap between mean income and median income, which is an indicator of worsening wealth inequality.

Three of the top five worst states for income inequality rank among the most populous states in the country: California, No. 1; Washington, No. 13; and Massachusetts, No. 15, out of 50 states plus the District of Columbia. The other two states, however, are among the least populated: Montana and North Dakota. Let’s take a closer look at these five states that are so severely afflicted by rising inequality.

5. Massachusetts

  • 2011 mean income-median income gap: $22,596
  • 2016 mean income-median income gap: $26,341
  • Five-year increase in income gap: $3,745 | 17%

Income inequality in Massachusetts is among the worst in the country. Although the 2000s dotcom bubble saw the biggest discrepancy develop between what the top 1%…