Fewer residents generally means more economic equality — except when it comes to the nation's capital.
America's economic inequality has come to define national politics. Just look at the 2016 presidential candidates. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton took up the populist mantle pioneered by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders earlier in the race. Meanwhile, Donald Trump rode a struggling middle class all the way to the top of the Republican ticket.
Over the last three decades, the gap between the rich and the poor has grown. Between 1984 to 2014, the top 1 percent of American households' relative share of the country's wealth doubled from 8.9 percent to 17.9 percent while the middle class shrunk nationwide.
That said, wealth is distributed more unequally in certain parts of the country than others. To explore economic inequality in the United States, Graphiq real estate site FindTheHome ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia from the least to the most unequal. FindTheHome used the Gini index to quantify income inequality -- scores range from zero to 100, with higher numbers indicating greater inequality.
Interestingly, each state's Gini index correlated to its population. More populous states tended to have higher scores, while those with fewer residents showed more economic equality. The two states with the lowest Gini indexes both have less than 1 million residents.
One possible explanation for this correlation is the inherent economic inequality of cities. Because large urban centers act as hubs for both big business and social resources like subsidized housing, they attract people from opposite ends of the economic ladder. This trend becomes even clearer when looking at Gini indexes on the county level -- jurisdictions containing large metros like Chicago, New York and Los Angeles have significantly higher scores than more rural areas.
Let's begin the list with an expansive state that has a Gini index of 41.46, and count up to a small but crucial American hub with a score of 52.95.