Chart of the day

Posted: 13 July 2016 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,


This is my own chart—showing the dramatic changes in the average incomes (excluding capital gains) of the top 1 percent compared to those of the bottom 90 percent, expressed as a ratio, from 1920 to 2015—from the World Wealth and Income Database.

Thus, for example, the ratio first peaked in 1928 (when, on average, top 1-percent incomes were 32.7 times those of the average of the bottom 90 percent), eventually decreased to a low in 1972 (of 10.2), then peaked once again in 2012 (with a value of 32.5). As of 2015, the ratio stood at 31.7.

Other charts in this series can be found here, herehere, and here.

Emmanuel Saez, Thomas Piketty, and the rest of the team need to be credited for making their data available. Readers should feel free to use this chart and reproduce it as they wish. . .

  1. JeffPC says:

    Key events that stopped the pre-1980 progress. 1979 – election of Margaret Thatcher, 1981 – presidency of Ronald Reagan begins and first Reagan Tax cut, 1985 – Election of Mikhail Gorbachev, 1986 – Tax Reform Act (2nd Reagan tax cut), 1997 Capital Gains Tax reforms. Take a look at this chart and overlay it over the above one:

  2. Ted Apelt says:

    Robert Reich has this chart, which he calls the “bridge chart”, because it looks like a suspension bridge.

  3. […] series last year—on inequality in the United States (in four parts: here, here, here, and here), the U.S. healthcare system (in seven parts: here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), and […]

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