The graphic and data below from Bloomberg provide a stark reminder of how divergent income growth in America has been. A particularly timely topic during an election year where income inequality has had such a significant focus. The underlying data, showing a fall off in average family income, challenges the very notion of the American dream where each generation does better than the last. Or looking at it in a different perspective, America is great if you are in a higher income group but not so much for those in lower income groups.
The earnings gap between rich and poor Americans was the widest in more than four decades in 2011, Census data shows. In 2010, the top 1 percent of U.S. families captured as much as 93 percent of the nation’s income growth. Earnings fell 1.7 percent for the 96 million households in the bottom 80 percent – those that made less than $101,583. From 1979 to 2007, about $1.1 trillion in annual income shifted to the top 1 percent of Americans – more than the entire earnings of the bottom 40 percent.