America’s income gap by the numbers

America’s income gap by the numbers - Recent studies have shown that America’s income gap is worse now than it was in 1774. Some are arguing that the data from 1774 must be taken with a grain of salt– records from then are often less accurate then they are today.

Other studies have also proven that America’s income gap is at historical levels, however. According to the Huffington Post:

“A 2009 study looking at data stretching back to 1917 found thatAmerican income inequality was at an all-time high. Likewise, two historians concluded last year that income inequality today is worse even than it was during the Roman Empire. The study found that the top 1 percent of Ancient Roman earners controlled 16 percent of the Empire’s riches, compared to the top 1 percent of American earners today who control 40 percent of the country’s wealth.”

Reports from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) have shown that the top 1% keep getting richer over the years. The middle and lower classes, however, haven’t been so lucky.

Stated the CBO report:

“Over the past three decades, the distribution of income in the United States has become increasingly dispersed — in particular, the share of income accruing to high-income households has increased, whereas the share accruing to other households has declined.”

America’s income gap by the numbers

The report found that for the 1% of wealthiest Americans, the average inflation-adjusted household income grew by 275%. The rest of wealthiest 1/5th of the population, (not including the top 1%), saw household income grow by 65% during that time, far faster than the rest of the population. And the poorest people in America, the bottom 1/5th, have only seen an 18% increase over the past 30 years.

Yes, a 275% increase of annual income in the already richest 1% of the population compared to the 18% increase for the poorest segment of the population. How on Earth did this happen?

The CBO report offered some explanation:

“The rapid growth in average real household income for the 1% of the population with the highest income was a major factor contributing to the growing inequality in the distribution of household income between 1979 and 2007. Shifts in government transfers and federal taxes also contributed to that increase in inequality.”

Others point to the fact that climbing the economic ladder– a.k.a. the American Dream– has becoming increasingly difficult.

America's income gap by the numbers

America’s income gap by the numbers

Perhaps one of the best qualities about U.S. society has been lost. Recent research indicates that Americans are less economically mobile than ever. Could it be? The the land of opportunity, where rags-to-riches stories make up our citizenry’s landscape is on the verge of extinction?

Related: Money Moves to Make with Low Interest Rates

America’s income gap by the numbers

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  1. bo boaz says

    I think the decline of the middle class began decades ago when middle-management was almost erased and CEO’s started making millions instead of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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