An economic recovery – but only for the top 1%

Can we really say the U.S. economy is recovering when 93% of all income gains in 2010 went to the top 1%?

In 2010, average U.S. unemployment reached its peak of 9.6%; home values continued to crater; and more Washington families needed food assistance then ever before. That same year, the wealthiest 1% hoarded 93 cents of every dollar created – leaving just 7 cents for everyone else.

This development is actually part of a decades-long trend of regular income increases for those earning 6 figures or better, while the “bottom 90%” (read: middle income and low-income) watch their incomes decline – despite huge increases in economic productivity.

For reference, here are average incomes by group in 2010 dollars:

  • Top 0.01%: $16,267,243
  • Top 0.1%: $3,693,117
  • Top 1%: $857,477
  • Top 10%: $227,761
  • Bottom 90%: $29,399

All data from The World’s Top Income Database by Facundo Alvaredo, Tony Atkinson, Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez

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