Sign In:

×

Last Step!

Please enter your public display name and a secure password.

Plan to post in the forums? Change your default forum handle here!

×
×

Study: Jackson Hole Officially The Most Economically Unequal Area In America

The top 1% of earners in the Jakckson Hole area earn 213 times what the bottom 99% take home. Ryan Dunfee photo.

While there has been plenty of anecdotal evidence pointing towards the increasing strife the middle of class of our treasured home zone, Jackson Hole, is facing in increasing magnitudes–namely, the violently stretched and wildly expensive housing options–no news has hit home like the official word from the Economic Policy Institute. 

The EPI's latest report, Income inequality in the U.S. by state, metropolitan area, and county, listed the Jackson metro area–which includes both the Wyoming and Idaho sides of Teton Pass–as, officially, the most economically unequal metropolitan area in the entire country. The top 1% of earners earn a whopping 68.3% of all the area's income, while the bottom 90% make just 17.3% of the total. 

In plain english, while nationally the top 1% of earners earn, on average, about 25 times that of the bottom 99%, in Jackson, the top 1% earn an astounding 213 times what the bottom 99% take home. That's almost 9 times as imbalanced as the rest of the country. Even in the wealthy Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut metro area, with its concentration of investment and banking wealth, that ratio is "just" 73.1 to 1.

While wealth has never been shy about relocating to Jackson Hole–its natural wonders, and lack of personal or corporate income tax, has attracted American wealth as far back as the Rockefellers–the influx of money has been particularly acute in the past few years. 

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort's well-earned place at the top of best-of lists from Ski Magazine and Forbes has no doubt piqued the interest of the ski-obsessed niche of America's upper class, fueling a corresponding growth in real estate buys in Teton Village, the area at the base of the resort. 

Meanwhile, a tight housing supply with next to no opportunities for new inventory and, perhaps even more of an issue, the extremely high cost of buying and building a home in the area, means that that single stalwart of financial independence–home ownership–is out of reach for the majority of the town's middle class. 

A quick search on Zillow finds just a few condos available–all under 700 square feet–for under $300,000. While the median home price is America today sits at $187,000, the average home price in the town of Jackson itself has swollen to around $1.2 million.

A Small Town, Loved To Death?

With Yellowstone wonders getting trampled on and working families being kicked out of barebones housing left and right, it's been a summer for tough introspection in the Jackson community. Ryan Dunfee photo.

While finding room and affordability for ski bums and even working professionals in the landscape of American mountain communities, all of which face their own problems from influxes of wealth, Jackson Hole is facing it at a level no other mountain community seems to be. Wyoming's low tax burden–the state doesn't levy either a personal or corporate income tax–has certainly convinced plenty with lots of money they'd prefer to hold onto to move both themselves and their business, often investment-focused, to the state, and to Jackson Hole in particular.

As a result, Jackson's local government is under immense pressure to find ways to generate new, affordable housing. With the centenary of the National Park Service expected to drive five million tourists through Jackson to visit neighboring Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, summer invites a new layer of stresses despite the verdant landscape, beautiful scenery, and long days with plenty of time outside living the dream. 

As to the issue of income inequality and an assumed entitlement to housing let’s have some discussion about around the topic of work, productivity and contribution inequality. Tired of hearing the under-performer babies cry about what others who have sacrificed time and effort to achieve success have instead of making similar efforts and/or contributions. Simply grow up or go to Cuba.

    +1

    “While finding room and affordability for ski bums”

    why?  srsly?

    So anyone who can’t afford a 1.2 million dollar home is an under-performer? I know 17 year old trust fund babies who haven’t worked a day in their lives that can afford that, but using your logic their productivity an contribution somehow outweighs the hardworking server, cashier, mechanic, etc who works 50+ hours a week and is the bones of the town. You are spitting in the face of the people who make the town run.

      I wish the secular progressive cry babies would stop villifying those whose success (which in most cases they paid the price for) has brought them here. Look around and the answer to affordable housing is all around. If the gov’t and greenies would get out of the way and open up just 1/10 of 1% of the currently restricted land in the county the housing situation would be easily solved by the free market. Where is John Gault?

I moved from Buffalo, NY to Cody, WY in 1975 at 17, not knowing a soul. I started coming to Jackson the following year. It has changed tremendously over 41 years. In the mid 80’s, the mom & pop shops started disappearing forced out by rising rents. The jcrew, Gucci and other such factory outlet stores. The in 1991, Kamart was putting in a store. That created a huge controversy! The “We don’t want our town to look like any town USA” Yet it was okay for the elite to build golf courses, swimming pools and private gated clubs. A double standard going on here. The early 90’s rents were still $1000/mo for a 1 room cottage. I knew people “the help” living in tents by the Snake River & storage units. Then in the mid to late 90’s the billionaires started pushing the millionaires out. Dan Sheridan’s song Big Money, about Aspen, sums it up well. Look it up on YouTube.

Play
READ THE STORY
Snowmobiler Dies in Avalanche on Togwotee Pass
Up Next News

Snowmobiler Dies in Avalanche on Togwotee Pass

Snowmobiler Dies in Avalanche on Togwotee Pass

Tragedy struck Togwotee Pass, near Jackson, Wyoming, on Wednesday afternoon after a snowmobiler died in an avalanche. The 29-year-old victim, Cody Christopherson from Wisconsin, was snowmobiling with a party of three when the incident occurred, according to the Jackson Hole News and Guide. While the details surrounding his death are pending, it is known that Christopherson’s friends were able to dig him out even though he was not using an avalanche beacon and start CPR. However, when

Play
READ THE STORY
26 Weather-Related Fatalities Make for Deadly Winter in Europe
Up Next News

26 Weather-Related Fatalities Make for Deadly Winter in Europe

26 Weather-Related Fatalities Make for Deadly Winter in Europe

Parts of Europe have been hit hard with snow and cold temperatures, creating chaos throughout the continent. In many communities, the extreme weather has grounded flights and canceled schools. Just at Germany's Frankfurt Airport alone, 120 flights were canceled. Meanwhile, 26 people have perished from weather-related incidents, with 12 deaths already in the new year. According to Sky News, a few fatalities have been avalanche related. For example, last Friday two snowboarders died from a

Play
READ THE STORY
The Freeride World Tour Kicks off In Hakuba, Japan This Week
Up Next News

The Freeride World Tour Kicks off In Hakuba, Japan This Week

The Freeride World Tour Kicks off In Hakuba, Japan This Week

The wait is finally over. After almost a year of waiting, we finally get to watch some of the best freeride skiers and snowboarders on the planet huck their carcasses on the world stage again. The Freeride World Tour, freeriding’s preeminent competition circuit, returns to Hakuba, Japan this week to kick off the 2019 season. RELATED: Here Are the Top 5 Cliff Drops From Last Year's FWT With an already stacked athlete roster, FWT also just announced two additional wild cards. Local