... If income were equally divided across households, each quintile (fifth) of households would account for 20% of total income. Inequality is the term commonly used to describe an income distribution in which one or more quintiles account for less (more) than 20% of aggregate income. The Congressional Budget Office and others have documented that the bottom fifth has long accounted for much less than its proportionate share (20%) of total income. The bottom quintile’s share of income has remained little changed for the past few decades at less than 4%, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. The middle class, defined as the middle 60% of households, received a disproportionately smaller share of the total economic pie in 2011 (45.7%) than in 1968 (53.2%). Over the same period, the disproportionately large income shares of the top 20% and the top 5% of households have trended upward. The top fifth’s share of total household income rose from 42.6% in 1968 to 51.1% in 2011; the top 5%’s share rose from 16.3% to 22.3%. Estimates derived from federal income tax data, which allow researchers to look within the top 5% of the U.S. income distribution, suggest that those at the very top have reaped disproportionately larger gains from economic growth. These, among other measures of income dispersion, have led analysts to conclude that inequality has increased in the United States as a result of high-income households pulling further away from those lower in the distribution. ...CRS via Secrecy News
... Based on the limited data that are comparable across nations, the U.S. income distribution appears to be among the most unequal of all major industrialized countries and the United States appears to be among the nations experiencing the greatest increases in measures of income dispersion. ...CRS via Secrecy News
Worst... so far...
... Research raises questions about whether Americans’ perceptions of their likelihood of upward mobility are exaggerated. Empirical analyses estimate
that the United States is a comparatively immobile society, that is, where one starts in the income distribution influences where one ends up to a greater degree than in several advanced economies. Children raised in families at the bottom of the U.S. income distribution are estimated to be especially less likely to ascend the income ladder as adults. ...CRS via Secrecy News