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Income gap widens in Florida

Florida’s income gap continues to grow faster than in the rest of the country, with the average household in the Sunshine State losing ground between 2010 and 2011, according to new Census numbers.

The latest report offers another look at both the damage done by the recession and housing crash, as well as the long-running divide between Florida’s very rich, very poor and middle class. A Census index on income inequality gave Florida one of the highest scores in the country for last year. Florida and four other states — California, Connecticut, Louisiana and New York — had a higher income-equality score than did the United States as a whole.

Florida also fared poorly on the income score itself, with the typical household taking in $44,299 during 2011. That’s down 2.8 percent from 2010’s median income figure of $45,609. Only 13 other states — most of them in the South — had a median income below $45,000, putting Florida in the bottom tier for that measure of prosperity.

It was a rough year for most households, with only Vermont showing an actual gain in median income between 2010 and 2011, the Census Bureau said.

The Census income-gap index increased 1.5 percent between 2010 and 2011, a sign of growing disparity. In all, 20 states saw their income-gap score increase last year.

Maryland households made the most money, with a median income of $70,004. The poorest: Mississippi, with a median income of $36,9191.