Top 1 percent in United States took biggest share since 1928
WASHINGTON — The income gap between the richest 1 percent and the rest of America last year reached the widest point since the Roaring Twenties.
The top 1 percent of U.S. earners collected 19.3 percent of household income in 2012, their largest share since 1928. And the share held by the top 10 percent of earners last year reached a record 48.2 percent.
U.S. income inequality has been growing for almost three decades. But it grew again last year, according to an analysis of IRS figures dating to 1913 by economists at the University of California, Berkeley, the Paris School of Economics and Oxford University.
One of them, Emmanuel Saez of the University of California, Berkeley, said the incomes of the richest Americans might have surged last year in part because they cashed in stock holdings to avoid higher capital gains taxes that took effect in January.
Last year, the incomes of the top 1 percent rose nearly 20 percent compared with a 1 percent increase for the remaining 99 percent.
The richest Americans were hit hard by the financial crisis. Their incomes fell more than 36 percent in the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009 as stock prices plummeted. Incomes for the bottom 99 percent fell just 11.6 percent, according to the analysis.
But since the recession officially ended in June 2009, the top 1 percent have enjoyed the benefits of rising corporate profits and stock prices: 95 percent of the income gains reported since 2009 have gone to the top 1 percent.
That compares with a 45 percent share for the top 1 percent in the economic expansion of the 1990s and a 65 percent share from the expansion that followed the 2001 recession.
The top 10 percent haven't done badly, either. Last year, they captured 48.2 percent of income, up from the previous record, 46.6 percent, in 2011.
The top 1 percent of American households had income above $394,000 last year. The top 10 percent had income exceeding $114,000.
The income figures include wages, pension payments, dividends and capital gains from the sale of stocks and other assets. They do not include so-called transfer payments from government programs such as unemployment benefits and Social Security.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Law enforcement, intelligence agencies want to ‘like’ you on social media
- N.Y. opera proposes mediation as lockout looms
- House’s vote to sue Obama is historic foray into checks, balances
- Tea Party opposition threatens House GOP’s border bill
- Ground Zero ship dated to 1773
- Witnesses added for Benghazi hearing
- IRS calls right-wing Republicans ‘crazies’ in emails
- 6 narcotics officers charged with racketeering
- NYC police unions lose bid in stop-and-frisk case
- Flat-out ‘miracle’ spares women on railroad span
- Charges against Fla. mom raise ire