Study Links Income Inequality, Carbon Emission Across U.S. States

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Study Links Income Inequality, Carbon Emission Across U.S. States

Across the U.S., state-level carbon emissions are higher in states where income is more highly concentrated among the wealthiest residents, according to a new study by two Boston College researchers.

On a global level, the connection between national wealth and carbon emissions has been well documented. The study, by sociologists Andrew Jorgenson and Juliet Schor, is the first to link income inequality and carbon emissions within and across the individual U.S. states.

The study found that state-level carbon emissions between 1997 and 2012 were positively associated with the income share of the top 10 percent of a state’s population, according to the findings, published online and in the April edition of the journal Ecological Economics.

Using the 2012 state data for carbon emissions, and based on the statistical analysis reported in the research article, a one percent increase in the income share of the top 10 percent of a state’s population results in tons of additional carbon emissions, led by:

1. Texas – 812,325 to 934,174 metric tons
2. California – 437,035 to 502,590 metric tons
3. Pennsylvania – 284,980 to 327,728 metric tons
4. Florida – 269,030 to 309,395 metric tons
5. Illinois – 261,170 to 300,966 metric tons
6. Ohio – 260,622 to 299,716 metric tons
7. Louisiana – 246,618 to 283,611 metric tons
8. Indiana – 232,886 to 237,819 metric tons
9. New York – 196,234 to 225,670 metric tons
10. Michigan – 184,835 to 212,560 metric t

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