"In a recent working paper based on census data for the 100 most populous counties in the U.S., Adam Seth Levine, Oege Dijk and I found that the counties where income inequality grew fastest also showed the biggest increases in symptoms of financial distress.
For example, even after controlling for other factors, these counties had the largest increases in bankruptcy filings.
Divorce rates are another reliable indicator of financial distress, as marriage counselors report that a high proportion of couples they see are experiencing significant financial problems. The counties with the biggest increases in inequality also reported the largest increases in divorce rates.
Another footprint of financial distress is long commute times, because families who are short on cash often try to make ends meet by moving to where housing is cheaper, in many cases, farther from work. The counties where long commute times had grown the most were again those with the largest increases in inequality"