The United States has one of the highest levels of income inequality among industrialized nations. But the problem becomes even starker in particular regions and cities. In 2014, San Francisco, a bastion of progressivism, saw the divide between rich and poor stretch further than in Rwanda. Miami’s inequality proved greater than Kenya’s, and income discrepancies in Boston grew wider than those in the Ivory Coast.

This income divide contributes to health and social problems such as obesity,...

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