Exploring Income Inequality, Part 4: More on the Widening of Inequality Since the 1970s

December 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Yesterday’s post in our series showed that average incomes nearly quadrupled between 1979 and 2007 for the top 1 percent of households, while growing much more modestly for households in the middle and bottom of the distribution.

Today, we’ll take a closer look at average households at different points in the income distribution, using Congressional Budget Office estimates of average after-tax incomes from 1979 to 2007, adjusted for inflation.  (See our guide for more information on data sources and historical trends.)  Pay attention to the scale of these charts to truly understand the magnitude of the income gap.




Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at the concentration of income and wealth.

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More About Hannah Shaw

Hannah Shaw

Hannah Shaw joined the Center in August of 2008. Her work as a research associate centers on income inequality, unemployment insurance, and economic analysis of other federal budget and policy issues.

Full bio | Blog Archive | Research archive at CBPP.org

2 Comments Add Yours ↓

Comments are listed in reverse chronological order.

  1. 1

    Dang! The slideshow is eye-popping. Thanks for compiling this data in such a clarifying manner.

    The first thing that came to mind is how workers (in the lower 80%) have gotten more productive in the same period of time while some in the 1% have made fortunes off of things that don’t actually produce anything for the rest of us. It’s just trading on Wall Street.

  2. 2

    To see the full effect of this, we need info on individual incomes. The increasing proportion of households with more than one wage earner hides the full extent of the problem.



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