The study used U.S. Census Bureau annual family incomes during 2004 through 2006 for each of the 50 states to calculate the ratio of the average income of those families in the top 20 percent of the income spectrum to the average income for those families in the bottom 20 percent. New York showed the greatest income disparity, with an average income of $148,192 among the top 20 percent of families compared to an average income of $17,107 among the bottom 20 percent, for a top-to-bottom ratio of 8.7. New Mexico ranked sixth, with a top-to bottom ratio of 8.0, an average income of $118,608 among the top 20 percent of families and an average income of $14,798 among the bottom 20 percent.
The top-to-bottom ratio nationally was 7.3, with an average income of $132,131 among the top 20 percent of families and $18,116 among the bottom 20 percent. Not surprisingly, New Mexico’s average income for both groups is substantially lower than the nation’s.
This study attributes the income gap in large part to stagnation of wages (which make up about three-fourths of family income) among lower-skilled workers due to long periods of high unemployment, globalization, the shrinkage of manufacturing jobs and the expansion of low-wage service jobs.
Many of these factors are present in New Mexico’s economy.
Wage disparity among New Mexico counties; average annual wages also vary widely by county across New Mexico, Los Alamos County tops the list, with an average of $73,999 per year paid for jobs in that county, primarily at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Jobs in De Baca County pay the least, at an average of $26,789 per year. Eddy, Lea and San Juan counties show the impact of relatively high pay in petroleum-related jobs. Wages in Bernalillo County are boosted by federal spending on defense, Sandia National Laboratories and the presence of the University of New Mexico.
The average wage for a job in New Mexico during 2010 was $40,199.