JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – A financial web-site suggested Jonesboro is among the nation's leaders in income gaps between rich and poor residents. According to www.businessinsider.com, Jonesboro is 15th in the nation regarding yearly income gaps. It said the top 25% of the workforce in the Jonesboro Metropolitan Area earns more than half of all the income each year. The top 5% earns more than a quarter of the income.
Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin told Region 8 News Wednesday the number was surprising, but he knew about the disparity.
"I knew the situation but not that we were number 15 in the United States," said Perrin.
The web-site used numbers collected by the U.S. Census Bureau. According to the statistics from the 2006-2008 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimate, the top quarter of the workforce earned more than $70,000 per year. The average income was listed at $38,449.
"I think you'll see this in main stream Arkansas, all the way across the country. If you look at this report and you see some of these major cities, you wouldn't think they have the same thing that Jonesboro has," said Perrin. "We are working on that through our CDBG, we increased that dramatically. We added the element of economic development within CDBG."
Business Insider stated that while Jonesboro is the region's most progressive city, it also has a large poverty rate and poor housing conditions in the northern section of the city.
"We are tackling these as quick as we possibly can," said Perrin.
Perrin said the Community Development Block Grant, also known as CDBG, has helped implement new programs into north Jonesboro. According to Perrin, Jonesboro has spent more than $52,000 to tear down dilapidated homes. It has also spent more than $225,000 to install new sidewalks.
"What I want to do is take that same area and go back with newer homes for first time homebuyers or whatever to do that," said Perrin.
In 2009, the city held several town hall meetings as it collected ideas from the public. Perrin said that information has been considered as the city continues to work on a 30-year plan.
"We've got all our data. Now it's time to start going forward, start spending money, start doing these things that we've been saying," said Perrin.
Business Insider said some high profile cities also have high income gaps. Miami ranked 10th. New York City ranked 9th. Bridgepoint, Connecticut was ranked first in the nation.