40 Years Of Income Inequality In America

Household Income In America – (see full article and interactive graph here, courtesy of NPR’s Planet Money Team)

 Source: Current Population Survey

Source: Current Population Survey

The graph reveals a striking pattern. After adjusting for inflation, income was basically flat for households in the bottom half of the economic ladder. Right around the middle, income starts to pick up — and the higher you go up the income ladder, the more income growth you see.

Income grew 9 percent for households at the 60th percentile, 22 percent for those at the 80th percentile and 36 percent for those at the 95th percentile. To be clear, many households move up and down the income ladder over time. Gains were even larger for those at the very top, but the census data used in this graph makes it hard to track incomes for the top 1 percent.