The gap between middle income Oregonians and those at the very top is wider than ever.
A new analysis by the Oregon Center for Public Policy released Wednesday found the income of Oregon’s top earners has soared, while the wages of medium income earners have stagnated.
“The main takeaway is that income inequality did not happen by accident,” said Juan Carlos Ordonez, communications director for the Oregon Center for Public Policy, a non-partisan non-profit institute. “It happened as a result of public policy choices made over the decades.”
The analysis looked at the most recent tax data from the Oregon Department of Revenue. That data is from 2015.
In 2015, Oregon’s richest 0.1 percent made an average of $4.3 million, the highest on record. Oregon’s median income, meanwhile, was $34,400.
Ordonez says there’s no single factor accounting for the gap, but that they can include the decline in unions and a decrease in income tax rates for top earners.