Vice President of Data Analysis and Research
I recently wrote about new Congressional Budget Office data showing that over the past three decades, after-tax incomes jumped by a stunning 281 percent for the richest 1 percent of Americans, while rising just 25 percent and 16 percent for households in the middle and bottom of the income scale, respectively. The table gives the relevant dollar figures for different income groups. (All figures here are adjusted for inflation.)
|Average After-Tax Income by Income Group
1979 - 2007 (in 2007 dollars)
|Income Category||1979||2007||Percent Change||Dollar Change|
|Top 1 Percent||$346,600||$1,319,700||281%||$973,100|
|Source: Congressional Budget Office, Effective Federal Tax Rates: 1979-2007, June 2010.|
Just in the last year of the study (2007), the top 1 percent of households saw their average incomes rise by $89,000 — much more than the entire average income of families in the middle.
As past studies have shown, the top-heavy growth of recent decades marks a sharp change from the three decades following World War II, when the benefits of economic growth were shared much more widely. In fact, incomes grew faster over those earlier decades for the bottom 90 percent of households than for the top 1 percent.
Between 1979 and 2007, after-tax household incomes rose by 55 percent for the nation as a whole, the CBO data show. If this growth had been shared equally across all income groups:
For more, here’s my recent report on the CBO data.