Census: Income Gap Widens with Recession

The recession has hit middle-income and poor families hardest, widening the economic gap between the richest and poorest Americans as rippling job layoffs ravaged household budgets.

Newly released census figures show the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans - those making more than $138,000 each year - earned 11.4 times the roughly $12,000 made by those living near or below the poverty line in 2008. That ratio was an increase from 11.2 in 2007 and the previous high of 11.22 in 2003.

Large cities such as Atlanta, Washington, New York, San Francisco, Miami and Chicago had the most inequality. Declining industrial cities with pockets of well-off neighborhoods, such as Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Buffalo, also had sharp disparities.

Plano, Texas, a Dallas suburb, had the highest median income among larger cities, earning $85,003. Cleveland ranked at the bottom, at $26,731.