Share of Households Earning Middle-Class Income
Income inequality became a hot topic of economic conversation in 2014, and publications like The Atlantic have taken notice. In 17 Things We Learned About the Economy in 2014, the authors explore the growth of low-income jobs, stagnant wages for families and shrinking wages for younger workers, the racial and gender wage gap, taxes and the dwindling middle class.
Income inequality isn’t just about the inability of some to afford the finer things in life. Research suggests that a wide gulf between incomes can have more pernicious effects, such as increased feelings of disenfranchisement, fewer opportunities for advancement and increased poverty. Some economists even have suggested that a large gap between class incomes can lead to stunted economic growth. Between 2009 and 2012, the top 1% of Americans enjoyed 95% of all income gains, according to research from UC Berkeley. The same study found that income inequality may be at its most pronounced levels since 1928, the height of the stock market bubble.