The Key West Mystique

Key West Island News


Key West Island News connects Key West residents and friends of the island, fosters our One Human Family culture and advances understanding of shared goals for our island community

Think you’re one of the 99 percenters? Might want to recalculate

By Linda Grist Cunningham, editor and proprietor

Linda Grist Cunningham is editor and proprietor of Key West Island News and KeyWestWatch Media LLC. She and her husband, a park ranger at Fort Zach, live in Key West with their Cat 5s.


If your annual household income is $150,000 and you’re living in most of Florida, you’re in the top 4 percent of those who live here, and in the top 9 percent nationally.

You’d need an annual household income of  $289,657 to wear the Florida 1-percenter badge and $383,001 to match the national 1 percent ranks. Still, look how close to that top spot a household income of $150,000 can get you.

Who earns that much money here in the Rock River Valley? A two-some household of veteran teachers, cops or firefighters easily make it. Many of the executive director types will do it, especially if they’ve got a paycheck spouse. Ditto the CEO-sorts of the various public bodies and private companies.

Worker bees? Not so much, of course. Two veteran journalists under one roof might make it into the top 13 percent, if they stretch really tall.

The New York Times today posted this fascinating interactive tool for figuring out where your household income falls against the local metropolitan areas, the state and the nation. Try it. Good learning experience.

It doesn’t take much more than a couple making middle-income paychecks to push them into the top percentage income brackets. They might not make it to the 1 percent, but they’re sure going to be low single digits.

I think sometimes we get so caught up in the 1 percent versus the 99 percent rhetoric that we stop realizing the real conversation ought to be less about hard lines and who wins and far more about doing what’s best for the most of us and for the least among us.


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