Since 1979, income share has risen for the top 10% but fallen for the rest: Percentage-point change in each income group’s share of total income from 1979 to 2018

Income before taxes and benefits Income after taxes and benefits
Top 1 percent 7.5 6.0
96-99th percentile 2.0 1.4
91-95th percentile 0.5 0.2
81-90th percentile -0.7 -0.8
Second fifth from top  -2.9 -2.4
Middle fifth -3.2 -2.2
Second fifth from bottom -2.5 -1.7
Bottom fifth -0.7 -0.5

Notes: We subtract 1979 income shares from 2018 income shares for each group. Income before taxes and government benefits includes benefits from social insurance programs like Social Security and unemployment because the Congressional Budget Office includes those labor-related benefits in its data set. Income after taxes and benefits includes not only social insurance benefits but benefits like food assistance payments that households qualify for by virtue of their incomes, as well as income from tax credits, minus tax payments. Households are ranked in the income distribution by income after taxes and benefits 

Source: Congressional Budget Office household income data (CBO 2021). 

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