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Davenport-Aerial-002

Davenport as seen in an updated aerial photo. The city is reviewing its zoning use codes and ordinances in an effort to "create and form the city we want."

The gap between the rich and poor is widening in the Quad-Cities, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Incomes are up, particularly in the middle class and in the highest income brackets, but so are the number of people living in poverty.

According to the data, median household income in the Quad-Cities area was $55,635 in 2018, a 3% uptick from the year before and a 20% gain from 2010. The figures are not adjusted for inflation.

Still, the Q-C median income is lower than respective state averages, where Illinois families make $65,030 and Iowans make $59,955.

Local incomes are growing even as poverty is on the rise. In 2018, about 1 in 8 Quad-Citians, or 13%, were below the poverty line, according to the data. In 2017, 11.6% were. It's worse for children, where 1 in 5 is poor — up from 1 in 6 in 2017. 

The Quad-Cities' poverty rate was also higher than the average rate in Iowa (11.2%) and Illinois (12.1%). For a family of four, the poverty threshold is an annual income below $25,750.

Other data also suggest growing inequality in the region, as the affluent become wealthier and the poor fall farther behind. The number of well-off households, where families earn more than $100,000, grew by 45% since 2010, for example. Meanwhile, the number of households earning less than $35,000 fell, but only by 18%.

The Gini index, a measurement of income distribution and inequality, inched upward in the Quad-Cities area, also suggesting a growing gap between rich and poor. 

Driving much of the local income gain are families. Between 2010 and 2018, the median income for families grew by 23% to $72,992. For nonfamilies, median income grew by 14% to $33,243.

Employment remains high in the Quad-Cities area. In July, the unemployment rate was 3.9%, below the national average of 4.0%.

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