Jan 30, 2015 by

It’s the wealthiest Americans who are recovering from the Great Recession.


A new report from the Economic Policy Institute says that the benefits from the economic recovery are being enjoyed by the nation’s top 1% of income earners while the rest of us still languish with relatively stagnant, even falling, wages.

Overall income grew by nearly 37% since 1979, but growth for “1 Percenters” was some 181%. When factoring the 1% out, the 99% saw their income grow only by 2.6%. Moreover, after the recovery from the Great Recession, the top 1% have enjoyed “an alarming share of economic growth.” According to University of California/Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez, who is cited in the report, the top 1% captured 95% of the total income growth between 2009 and 2012.

“In previous recoveries, the majority of income growth was accounted for by the bottom 99 percent,” said Mark Price, a labor economist who co-authored the study.

Price says several factors, including a minimum wage that hasn’t kept up with the rate inflation, declining union membership, and an extremely slow recovery from the Great Recession, are the primary factors why a vast majority of Americans haven’t seen their incomes rise over the past several years.

The Institute’s report, “The Increasingly Unequal United States of America,” details the disparity in wealth, not only for the nation, but in every U.S. state. It’s based on tax data collected every year by the Internal Revenue Service.

Added to the report is a map that details income inequality by state, and shows how much income it would take to be a 1 Percenter in each state and the District of Columbia.

So, what does it take to make it into the 1% of earners? In Arkansas, you’d need to pull in $228,000 a year. In Connecticut, the threshold is $678,000, which also happens to have the greatest income disparity of all states. The Nutmeg State’s 1% makes 51 times more money than what the rest of the wage earners average in the state. By comparison, Hawaii’s 1% make just under 15 times the  amount as other wage earners there.

Look at the Economic Policy Institute’s map, below, to see how bad income disparity is in your state.

Click to enlarge.

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