The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

86 percent of Trump counties make less in a year than 27 Trump staffers are worth

Financial reports released by the Trump administration indicate that 27 staffers who work for him are worth a combined $2.3 billion thanks to real estate, investments and hefty salaries.

How much is $2.3 billion? Here’s one way to look at it. Consider the amount of money earned in any county in the country in a year — the number of households in each county times the average household income in the county. In 80 percent of the counties in America, every household combined earns less than $2.3 billion a year. In counties that voted for Donald Trump, that figure is higher: In 86 percent of Trump counties, the total amount of income earned in a year is less than $2.3 billion. (On average, it’s $2.1 billion, using 2011 to 2015 five-year estimates from the Census Bureau.)

Only 8 percent of Trump-voting counties have a cumulative annual income greater than the $3.9 billion Forbes says the president himself is worth. Only 2 percent earn more annually than the $10 billion Trump claims to be worth.

This, of course, falls into the same trap that Trump has exploited to inflate his electoral success last year. Most counties don’t have very many people — which is also why, cumulatively, they don’t earn as much in income annually. The counties that tend to beat the $2.3 billion in annual income tend to be counties that include large cities. And, as a result, a map of where incomes beat the Trump staff’s net worth looks like an electoral map: Swaths of counties that earn less each year than those 27 people are worth and a few pockets, mostly on the coasts, that are exceptions.

Of course, there’s also a broad disparity within the over-$2.3-billion counties, too.

Those largest counties also correlate to ones that Hillary Clinton won last year. About half of Clinton counties fall under the $2.3 billion mark. On average, counties that backed Clinton earn $5.1 billion in cumulative annual income according to that Census Bureau data.

Again, the data here are averages from 2011 to 2015. Household incomes have climbed over the past few years, so the number of counties that are under the $2.3 billion mark is probably slightly lower.

Broadly, though, this bit of data reinforces the disconnect between the Trump team and the voters Trump likes to highlight. A lot of very wealthy people, most of whom come from those Clinton counties, work in the White House. A lot of other houses scattered across the country are relying on those millionaires to boost their own incomes.