Income Inequality

Gap Between Rich and Poor Widest Ever

The earning gap between the rich and the poor is the widest it has ever been in America, with the top 20 percent—those making more than $100,000 a year—pulling in 49.4 percent of all income in the country. Those below the poverty line made just 3.4 percent, according to the Census Bureau. The income ratio is now 14.5 to 1, a big increase from 13.6 to 1 two years ago and double the level in 1968, when it was 7.69 to 1 and the lowest ever. American income inequality is at the highest level since 1967, when the Census Bureau began tracking household income, according to a different measurement, the Gini Index. The U.S. has the biggest gap among all Western industrialized countries. The top 5 percent—those making $180,000 or more—saw their incomes rise a little last year, while those making less than $50,000 made less.