A new analysis shows that the bottom 20% of earners spend almost 10% of their income on electricity, more than seven times the amount paid paid by the top 20%. The Atlantic staffer Julian Spector reports on the disproportionate amount that poor Americans may on their electric bill in comparison to the rich.
Spector looks at a report from Groundswell which ranked cities by their proportion of poor residents who pay $200 or more for electricity each month. The study found that the highest concentration of these people was in the South:
These are parts of the country that get really hot, so it’s not surprising that people there use more energy. What’s notable is how that burden is distributed across the population: It disproportionately falls on black and poor residents. Fifty percent of all families that spend 10 percent of income on power bills are black, the report notes.