Income Growth: Middle-Class Finally Earning More, Rich Getting Lots Richer

Most Americans who fall under “the 99%” saw income growth in 2014 and the top “1%” made even bigger strides, according to a new analysis by UC Berkeley Professor Emmanuel Saez.
The “bottom 99% incomes grew by 3.3% from 2013 to 2014, the best annual growth rate since 1999,” writes Saez. Meanwhile, the top 1% incomes “grew even faster by 10.8% from 2013 to 2014.

“2014 marks the first year of real recovery from the Great Recession losses for the bottom 99%,” she says.
Nevertheless, inequality remains extremely high, Saez emphasized. The top income shares have increased slightly in 2014 compared to 2013. For example, the top 10% income share increased from 48.9% in 2013 to 49.9% in 2014. A top 10% income share of 49.9% is the highest ever except for 2012.
The top 1% income share increased from 20.1% in 2013 to 21.2% in 2014.
The recovery from the Great Recession, from 2009 to 2012, saw average real income per family grew modestly by 6.9%. But the gains were sharply uneven. Top 1% incomes grew by 34.7% while bottom 99% incomes grew only by 0.8% from 2009 to 2012.
Concludes Saez: “Hence, the top 1% captured 91% of the income gains in the first three years of the recovery. Overall, these results suggest that the Great Recession has only depressed top income shares temporarily and will not undo any of the dramatic increase in top income shares that has taken place since the 1970s.”

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