5 graphs on income inequality and the Great Recession
The report,” Income inequality and the Great Recession released last week by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee begins:
Income inequality has worsened in the U.S.Over the past three decades, income inequality has grown dramatically. After remaining relatively constant for much of the post‐war era, the share of total income accrued by the wealthiest 10 percent of households jumped from 34.6 percent in 1980 to 48.2 percent in 2008. Much of the spike was driven by the share of total income accrued by the richest 1 percent of households. Between 1980 and 2008, their share rose from 10.0 percent to 21.0 percent, making the United States as one of the most unequal countries in the world.2 Moving even further up the income distribution, the share of income accruing to the wealthiest 0.1 percent of households – those with incomes of at least $1.7 million in 2008 – has grown sharply as well. In short, the evolution of income inequality in the United States is largely driven by the trends at the very top of the income distribution, as very wealthy households have continued to accrue an ever‐greater share of the nation’s total income.
The report includes the following graphs.