Inequality in the U.S. has has grown steadily since the 1970s, following a flat period after World War II. In 2008, the wealthiest 10 percent earned almost the same amount of income as the rest of the country combined.
|INCOME LEVEL||NUMBER OF PEOPLE||AVERAGE INCOME||OVERALL CHANGE 1970-2008|
|Top 0.1%||152,000||$5.6 million||+385%|
|Top 1-5%||6.0 million||$211,476||+59%|
|Top 5-10%||7.6 million||$127,184||+38%|
|Bottom 90%||137.2 million||$31,244||-1%|
*Based on the salary, bonuses and stock options of the three highest-paid officers in the largest 50 firms. ** Calculated from Bureau of Economic Analysis data. NOTE: All figures have been adjusted for inflation.
SOURCES: The World Top Incomes Database and reports by Jon Bakija, Williams College; Adam Cole, U.S. Department of Treasury; Bradley T. Heim, Indiana University; Carola Frydman, MIT Sloan School of Management and NBER; Raven E. Molloy, Federal Reserve Board of Governors; Thomas Piketty, Ehess, Paris; Emmanuel Saez, UC Berkeley and NBER. GRAPHIC: Alicia Parlapiano - The Washington Post. Published June 18, 2011.