Income Inequality|Tax Inequality|Wealth Concentration|Economic Opportunity|Inequality Impacts|Public Opinion

Use the subtabs above to get the facts on income inequality, tax inequality, wealth concentration, econnomic opportunity, inquality impacts, and pulic opinion.


Between 1979 and 2009, the richest 5 percent of American families saw their real incomes increase 73 percent while the poorest Americans saw their real incomes decrease by 7 percent.

Saez, Emmanuel.  2010.  “Striking it richer: the evolution of top incomes in the United States.”  Working Paper, University of California, Berkeley. 


If U.S. incomes were still distributed as they were in 1979, the average U.S. worker would receive nearly $6,000 more a year in income.  

Piketty, Thomas and Emmanuel Saez.  "Income Inequality in the United States, 1913-1998," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 118(1), 2003. 


In 2009, the richest 74 Americans earned as much as the 19 million lowest paid Americans combined.  

David Cay Johnston.  October 2010.  “Scary New Wage Data.”  Tax.com.


Every fourteen minutes in 2009, hedge fund manager David Tepper made President Obama’s annual salary. 

Public Citizen’s Congress Watch.  March 2011.  “Hourly Rates: A Modest Essay about Extraordinary Paychecks.”  


Between 1980 and 2000, top-paid American CEOs increased their pay from 42 times the average worker’s pay to 531 times the average worker pay. 

April 22, 2002.  “CEOs: Why They're So Unloved.”  Business Week.


In 2007, the top 50 hedge fund and private equality fund managers averaged $588 million in compensation each, 19,000 times the typical U.S. worker.  

Institute for Policy Studies.  August 2008.  “Executive Excess 2008: How Average Taxpayers Subsidize Runaway Pay:15th Annual CEO Compensation Survey.”


In 2010, the combined pay of 299 CEOs could support 102,325 workers earning the median wage.

Executive Paywatch.  2011.  AFL-CIO.


In 2010, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans took home 24 percent of all US income.

Piketty, Thomas and Emmanuel Saez. 2007. “Income and wage inequality in the United States, 1913–2002.” In Atkinson & Piketty 2007, pp. 141–225.


Between 1979 and 2007, after-tax wages for the top 1 percent of income earners nearly tripled, while the bottom half barely kept up with inflation. 

Congressional Budget Office.  2009.  “Data on the Distribution of Federal Taxes and Household Income,”


The gap between CEO and average worker pay at major U.S. corporations is twice as wide as the gap in major British corporations and four times wider than the pay gap at major Swedish corporations.

Reuters, Aug 4, 2011.


If the incomes of the richest 1 percent of Americans increased only as fast as national productivity after 1980, they would have taken $1 trillion less from our economy.

Paul Buchheit.  July 2011.  “Gini’s Growing Fast (Or How Much Can One Man Make?).”  CommonDreams.org


Since 1979, two-thirds of all income gains in the United States have gone to the top 10 percent of income-earners, and 39 percent has gone to the top 1 percent alone.

Economic Policy Institute.  May 2011.  “We’re Not Broke Nor Will We Be.”


Over half the income that goes to America's most affluent 1 percent goes to the top tenth of 1 percent, the richest one out of every thousand families.

David Cay Johnston.  August 2011.  “How You Can Have a Billion Dollar Income in America and Pay No Taxes.”


Between 2002 and 2007, 65 cents of every dollar in wage gains went to the top one percent of American wage earners.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  September 2009.  “Top 1 Percent of Americans Reaped Two-Thirds of Income Gains in Last Economic Expansion.”


If everyone’s income had grown at the same percentage rate between 1979 and 2007, average income households would have received an additional $13,042 in after tax income in 2007.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  June 2010.  “Income Gaps Between Very Rich and Everyone Else More Than Tripled In Last Three Decades New Data Show.”


The increase in federal assistance for most Americans since 1979 is almost exactly equal to the additional income those folks would have made if incomes were still distributed the same way they were in 1979.  

Piketty, Thomas and Emmanuel Saez. 2007. “Income and wage inequality in the United States, 1913–2002.” In Atkinson & Piketty 2007, pp. 141–225.



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