Who Got Richer?

According to the US Congressional Budget Office analysis of change in income from 1979 to 2007, only the top 20% of US earners had higher incomes over that time span and only the top 1% really did well. Yep, that’s the 1%. They saw their incomes increase waaaay much. One used to get what 20 got, but now one gets what 40 gets.

As a result of that uneven income growth, the share of total after-tax income received by the 1 percent of the population in households with the highest income more than doubled between 1979 and 2007, whereas the share received by low- and middle-income households declined (see Figure 3 on page 6). The share of income received by the top 1 percent grew from about 8 percent in 1979 to over 17 percent in 2007. The share received by other households in the highest income quintile was fairly flat over the same period, edging up from 35 percent to 36 percent. In contrast, the share of after-tax income received by the 60 percent of the population in the three middle-income quintiles fell by 7 percentage points between 1979 and 2007, from 50 percent to 43 percent of total after-tax household income, and the share of after-tax income accruing to the lowest-income quintile decreased from 7 percent to 5 percent. By 2005, the share of total after-tax household income received by the 20 percent of the population with the highest income had exceeded the share received by the remaining 80 percent. In 2007, those shares were 53 percent and 47 percent, respectively. In 1979, the top 1 percent received about the same share of income as the lowest income by 2007, the top percentile received more than the lowest two income quintiles combined.

Oh, but don’t believe me. Read it yourself.

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