Press Releases | Inequality and Poverty

News from EPI Top incomes grow, while bottom incomes stagnate

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Contact: Phoebe Silag or Karen Conner, 202-775-8810

Income growth over the last few decades has been enormously unbalanced, and this must be taken into account as the nation considers shifts in tax policy and develops a fiscal plan that strengthens the recovery and targets a sustainable deficit.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, between 1979 and the start of the current recession in 2007, the pre-tax incomes of the upper 1% grew 214%, while the incomes of the middle-fifth and lowest-fifth grew, respectively, 25% and 4%. As today’s Snapshot shows, this extremely unbalanced growth implies that 38.7% of all of the income growth accrued to the upper 1% over the 1979-2007 period: a greater share than the 36.3% share received by the entire bottom 90% of the population.