Income Inequality Gap Reaches Largest on Record

The recession hasn’t been that bad… for people in the top 7 percent. In fact, it’s been going quite well for these top income earners. Their net worth has risen by nearly 30%. As for the other 93 percent, their net worth actually decreased by 4 percent according to Richard Fry and Paul Taylor at Pew Research.

“These wide variances were driven by the fact that the stock and bond market rallied during the 2009 to 2011 period while the housing market remained flat.

Affluent households typically have their assets concentrated in stocks and other financial holdings, while less affluent households typically have their wealth more heavily concentrated in the value of their home.”

Of course net worth isn’t the only useful economic indicator. Annual income is another. Unfortunately there’s more bad news there. Continuing the trend we’ve been seeing since the 1970s, the gap between rich and poor has grown to record proportions.

Incomes of households in the top five percent were more than nine times the incomes of households in the bottom 20 percent.

That’s the largest gap between the top five percent and bottom 20 percent in the U.S. since the Census Bureau started keeping records in 1967 according to Christian E. Weller and Sam Ungar at the Center for American Progress. Household median income (inflation adjusted) is also in bad shape at $51,017, measuring at its lowest since 1995.