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The share of Idaho workers earning minimum wage has grown from 5 percent in 2011 to 7.7 percent in 2012. The growth has put Idaho in the top spot for the largest share of minimum wage workers in the country. How did that happen? And what’s being done to reverse the trend?

Boise, Denver See Widening Gap Between Rich And Poor

For Sale Coldwell Banker House Sold
Adam Cotterell
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Boise State Public Radio

A new Bloomberg analysis looks at the widening gap between the rich and the poor in cities across the nation. 

Boise made the top 10. The rapid influx of new residents to the fast-growing city has caused an increase in housing demand and a jump in the cost of living.

Diana Telford is with NeighborWorks Boise, an organization that helps first-time home buyers. She says the growing wage-gap makes it tough for low-income families to buy homes.

"They’re getting very discouraged because there’s nothing available in their income levels," says Telford. "The prices have gone up so much that they can’t qualify."

Boise was the only Mountain West city on the list of the 10 metro areas with the most dramatic widening of the wage gap. But Denver was also up there -- it ranked 15th for growing incoming disparity.

Bloomberg also analyzed the gap between the super rich and the middle class. It showed that Ogden, Utah saw that gap narrow from 2011 to 2016. The same was true in Colorado Springs.

Find reporter Amanda Peacher on Twitter @amandapeacher.

Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Amanda Peacher works for the Mountain West News Bureau out of Boise State Public Radio. She's an Idaho native who returned home after a decade of living and reporting in Oregon. She's an award-winning reporter with a background in community engagement and investigative journalism.