Them’s that Got Shall Get: Trends in Income and Wealth Distribution, 1962-2010

This graph draws on the work of Edward Wolff, particularly his excellent new NBER paper, The Asset Price Meltdown and the Wealth of the Middle Class (November 2012). The most striking numbers here are the growth in inequality over time, and the widening gap between the inequality of income and the inequality of wealth.  The richest 20 percent claim 46 percent of American income in 1962, and almost 60 percent of income in 2010.  Their share of non-home wealth (not including home equity) went from 86.1 percent to 95.4 percent over the same span.  After widening in the 1970s, the inequality of net worth (the red line is the gini cooefficient measure of inequality) was pretty flat through 2007, but spike sharply between 2007 and 2010.  The picture here is of the distribution of wealth and income across the population, so it doesn’t capture the stark losses for all groups as a result of the housing crash and recession–which I have covered in another post.

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2 Responses to Them’s that Got Shall Get: Trends in Income and Wealth Distribution, 1962-2010

  1. Jan Halton says:

    Please correct the 3rd and 4th percentile labels to 3rd and 4th “quintile” respectively. Also correct the explanation in the legend. 20 percentiles = a quintile.

    Otherwise, thank you for a great post.

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