Looking at the ‘income gap’ in the Finger Lakes

If you take the income of the top-percentage of earners in any area — removing them from determining the average income of the other 99 percent — what would that do to the median income?

It’s a valid question that I set out to determine after reading some data, and seeing some maps on income trends nationally. Some data had been collected in New York State, but looking specifically through the lens of the “Finger Lakes,” it seemed an interesting thought to know how top-earners impact what the “median,” or average income is in the region.

The data revealed that the top-earners don’t impact the average too much. If they do impact the average — it’s by a thousand, or two-thousand dollars per year. For those living on the lowest wages that can seem like a large amount of money, but when compared to the larger figure of the top-earner’s it is stunning.

The data is shocking because it reveals a gap that really does exist. How one deals with, or does not deal with a gap like that — is a politically divisive conversation. In terms of black-and-white analysis, it shows that as a region, state, and country — we have a very, very long way to go.

Here’s how the data breaks down:

In the Finger Lakes, Ontario, Cortland, Onondaga and Monroe counties saw the greatest discrepancy between the top-earners and those who made up the other 99 percent.

Ontario County saw the largest top-percentage income, which averaged out at $811,836 per year. While the other 99 percent saw a median salary of just $40,345 per year.

Monroe, Onondaga and Tompkins counties all saw similar figures with top-earners making in excess of $650,000 per year and the average income of the other 99% sitting in the $36,000 to $38,000 per year range.

Steuben County saw the next largest figure from the Finger Lakes. The top-earners in Steuben earned an average of $553,353 per year, while those earning in the 99 percent saw an average income of just $29,621 per year.

Schuyler, Seneca and Wayne counties all saw similar median incomes among the top-earners as those ranged between $352,000 and $369,000. Similarly, all of those among the other 99 percent of earners saw an average income of around $30,000.

Cayuga and Yates counties saw top-earners make in excess of $400,000 per year on average, with those earning in the 99 percent category saw median incomes around $30,0000.

Take a look at the interactive map above to have a look at the Finger Lakes and rest of the country.

Also on FingerLakes1.com