By the Numbers

Income | Wealth | Executive Compensation | Wages | Data Banks | Download PDF Version

Income

The top one percent of households received 21.8 percent of all pre-tax income in 2005, more than double what that figure was in the 1970s. (The top one percent's share of total income bottomed out at 8.9 percent in 1976.) This is the greatest concentration of income since 1928, when 23.9 percent of all income went to the richest one percent. (Piketty and Saez)

The above figures include capital gains, which are strongly affected by the ups and downs of the financial markets. Excluding capital gains, the richest one percent claimed 17.4 percent of all pre-tax income in 2005, more than double what that figure was in the 1970s. (It bottomed out at 7.8 percent in 1973.) This is the greatest concentration of income since 1936, when the richest one percent received 17.6 percent of total income. (Piketty and Saez)

Between 1979 and 2005, the top five percent of American families saw their real incomes increase 81 percent. Over the same period, the lowest-income fifth saw their real incomes decline 1 percent. (Census Bureau)

In 1979, the average income of the top 5 percent of families was 11.4 times as large as the average income of the bottom 20 percent. In 2005, the ratio was 20.9 times. (EPI, State of Working America 2006-07, Figure 1J)

All of the income gains in 2005 went to the top 10 percent of households, while the bottom 90 percent of households saw income declines. (EPI Snapshot, March 28, 2007)

Unprecedented levels of capital income are fueling inequality in the current business cycle. In the third quarter of 2006, the share of corporate income going to capital (profits and interest) hit an all-time high of 23 percent, with the remaining 77 percent going to employee compensation. Since capital income disproportionately goes to the top of the income scale, this shift towards capital income increases the income gap. (EPI Snapshot, Jan. 17, 2007)


Source: Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, "Income Inequality in the United States, 1913-1998," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 118(1), 2003. Updated to 2005 at http://emlab.berkeley.edu/users/saez.
Download high resolution TIF


Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Historical Income Tables, Table F-3.
Download high resolution TIF


Source: Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data in Economic Policy Institute, The State of Working America 1994-95 (M.E. Sharpe: 1994) p. 37.
Download high resolution TIF


Source: Congressional Budget Office, Historical Effective Federal Tax Rates: 1979 to 2004, Table 1C, December 2006.
Download high resolution TIF

Wealth

In 1962, the wealth of the richest one percent of U.S. households was roughly 125 times greater than that of the typical household. By 2004, it was 190 times (EPI, State of Working America 2006-07, Figure 5B).

The richest one percent of U.S. households now owns 34.3 percent of the nation's private wealth, more than the combined wealth of the bottom 90 percent. The top one percent also owns 36.9 percent of all corporate stock. (EPI, State of Working America 2006-07, Table 5.1 and Figure 5F).

The total inflation-adjusted net worth of the Forbes 400 rose from $470 billion in 1995 to $1.25 Trillion in 2006. (Arthur Kennickel, Federal Reserve Board, Currents and Undercurrents: Changes in the Distribution of Wealth, 1989-2004 (pdf) and Forbes Magazine.)

The U.S. Personal Savings Rate declined from 11.2 percent in 1982 to NEGATIVE 1.1 percent in 2006. (Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Income and Product Accounts, Table 2.1)


Source: Economic Policy Institute, State of Working America 2006-07, Table 5.1, citing Wolff (2006).
Download high resolution TIF


Source: Economic Policy Institute, State of Working America 2006-07, Figure 5F, citing Wolff (2006).
Download high resolution TIF


Source: 1989-2004: Arthur B. Kennickell, "Currents and Undercurrents: Changes in the Distribution of Wealth, 1989-2004," Federal Reserve Board, Jan. 30, 2006, Table 1. 2005-06: Forbes.com.
Download high resolution TIF


Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Income and Product Accounts, Table 2.1, Personal Income and Its Disposition.
Download high resolution TIF


Source: 1922-53: Edward N. Wolff, Top Heavy (New Press: 1996). 1962-2004: Economic Policy Institute, State of Working America 2006-07, Table 5.3, citing Wolff (2006).
Download high resolution TIF


Source: Economic Policy Institute, State of Working America 2006-07, Figure 5b, citing Wolff (2006).
Download high resolution TIF


Source: White: Brian K. Bucks, Arthur B. Kennickell, and Kevin B. Moore, "Recent Changes in U.S. Family Finances: Evidence from the 2001 and 2004 Survey of Consumer Finances," Federal Reserve Bulletin, vol. 92 (February 2006), Table 3. African American and Hispanic: Arthur B. Kennickell, "Currents and Undercurrents: Changes in the Distribution of Wealth, 1989-2004," Survey of Consumer Finances Working Paper, January 30, 2006.
Download high resolution TIF

Executive Compensation

American CEOs earned 411 times as much as average workers in 2005, up from 107 times in 1990. (United for a Fair Economy, Executive Excess 2006, based on Business Week and the Wall Street Journal).

Top executives in the U.S. now make about twice the pay of their counterparts in France, Germany and the U.K., and about four times that of Japanese and Korean corporate chieftains. (Lucian Bebchuk, testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, Mar 8, 2007.)


Source: Business Week and Wall Street Journal annual Executive Compensation surveys. Adjusted for inflation using CPI-U, Consumer Price Index, All Urban Consumers.
Download high resolution TIF


Source: United for a Fair Economy, Executive Excess 2005, based on annual CEO pay studies conducted by Business Week (1990-2004) and the Wall Street Journal (2005).
Download high resolution TIF

Wages

Between 1949 and 1979, the inflation-adjusted average hourly wage for production workers rose 75 percent, from $9.00 to $15.78. Since 1979, the average production-worker wage has risen only 2 percent, from $15.78 to $16.11. (EPI, State of Working America 2006-07, Table 3.3)

Between 1979 and 2004, American workers raised their productivity 64 percent, while their median hourly compensation rose only 12 percent. (Economic Policy Institute, Datazone: PDF, XLS)

In 2006, households in the bottom 20 percent received $23 due to the Bush tax cuts. Households in the middle 20 percent received $448. Families in the top 1 percent received $39,020. And households in the top 0.1 percent received $200,523. (Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, Table T06-0034)


Source: Economic Policy Institute, The State of Working America 2006-07, table 3.4. For source data, see "Hourly Wage Decile Cutoffs for All Workers, 1973-2005 (2005 dollars)" on this page.
Download high resolution TIF


Source: Economic Policy Institute, The State of Working America 2006-07, table 3.3. For source data, see "Hourly and weekly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers, 1947-2005 (2005 dollars)" on this page.
Download high resolution TIF

Data Banks

Topic Type of Data Source Years Link
Income Thresholds, averages, and shares by quintiles (fifths of the population) and top 5%. Does not include income above $1 million. U.S. Census Bureau: Historical Income Data 1947-2005. Updated annually in October. html
Income Pre- and after-tax income thresholds, averages, and shares by quintiles (fifths of the population) and for top 10%, 5%, and 1%. Congressional Budget Office: Historical Effective Federal Tax Rates 1979-2004. Updated annually in December. pdf
xls
Income Income averages and shares, including and excluding capital gains, for bottom 90% and top 10%, 5%, 1%, 0.1%, and 0.01%. Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez analysis of tax return data 1913-2005. html
xls
Income Variety of tables and figures Economic Policy Institute, The State of Working America, 2006-07 Varies html
Income Mobility Variety of tables and figures Economic Policy Institute, The State of Working America, 2006-07 Varies html
Wages Real and current values of the minimum wage Economic Policy Institute, The State of Working America, 2006-07 1960-2005 pdf
xls
Wages Hourly and weekly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers Economic Policy Institute, The State of Working America, 2006-07 1947-2005 pdf
xls
Wages Hourly wages by deciles (tenths of the population) for all workers Economic Policy Institute, The State of Working America, 2006-07 1973-2005 pdf
xls
Wages Hourly wages by deciles (tenths of the population) for male workers Economic Policy Institute, The State of Working America, 2006-07 1973-2005 pdf
xls
Wages Hourly wages by deciles (tenths of the population) for female workers Economic Policy Institute, The State of Working America, 2006-07 1973-2005 pdf
xls
Wages Variety of tables and figures Economic Policy Institute, The State of Working America, 2006-07 Varies html
CEO Pay Average and Median CEO Pay United for a Fair Economy, Executive Excess 2006 1990-2005 pdf
CEO Pay CEO Pay Ratios United for a Fair Economy, Executive Excess 2006 1990-2005 pdf
Wealth Distribution of Wealth Economic Policy Institute, State of Working America 2006-07 2004 jpg
Wealth Distribution of Stock Ownership Economic Policy Institute, State of Working America 2006-07 2004 jpg
Wealth Variety of tables and figures Economic Policy Institute, State of Working America 2006-07 Varies html
Wealth Triennial survey of wealth and income characteristics of U.S. families Federal Reserve Board, Survey of Consumer Finances 1983-2004 html
Savings Personal Saving Rate (personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income) Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Income and Product Accounts 1929 - present interactive table