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How Does Chicagoland Rank in Pay Inequality?

Published: Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 2:34 p.m. CST

By Sally Deneen

While Chicagoland is home to five of the nation's 10 most expensive restaurants and mansions are selling well, here's another statistic that may seem incongruous: The pay gap between the best-paid workers and poorest-paid in Chicagoland isn't widening as fast as in many other Midwestern metro areas, according to Bloomberg.

Actually, the Kansas City metro saw the biggest growth in the pay gap between its highest-paid and lowest-paid workers since 2008 among the Midwestern metros ranked. Bloomberg looked at the pay difference between the group of workers earning less than $50,000 annually and the group earning above $50,000. Bloomberg found the gap between the two groups in Kansas City grew by $3,346 since 2008.

Greater Cleveland endured the next largest increase in the gap in pay ($3,132), followed by Pittsburgh ($2,840), St. Louis ($2,775), Columbus ($2,581), Minneapolis ($2,487), Indianapolis ($2,372) and Milwaukee ($1,946).

Chicagoland comes next. The rich indeed got richer – the pay gap between the highest-paid workers and lowest here widened since 2008 by $1,879, mainly because the better-paid group saw their pay rise more. People earning above $50,000 saw, as a group, their pay increase by $2,481 since 2008, according to Bloomberg. Local lower-wage workers as a group saw their pay rise by just $602.

Nationally, Chicagoland's pay-gap increase ranks among the lowest, placing 38th out of 49 areas examined.Some cities are doing better, gap-wise. In Dallas, the pay gap has grown since 2008 by only $376. That's mainly because the lower-paid employees in the Texas metro saw their income fall as a group since 2008 by $301, according to the Bloomberg report.

If you’re wondering which five Chicagoland eateries made the nation's "most expensive" list? Alinea in Lincoln Park is the costliest, Bundle states. Average check is $736.

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