Feeling Blue? Blame the 1 Percent

Photo (cc) by epSos.de

You’re probably familiar with the old adage “The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.” But maybe it should be revised to read: “The rich get richer, and everybody else gets less happy.”

That was the finding of a recent study titled “Top Incomes and Human Well-Being Around the World,” conducted by researchers from the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School.

Income inequality, which has been climbing steadily across the globe for the past three decades, was identified as the top threat to global stability by the World Economic Forum in 2015. This new research reveals that the rising income gap is having a negative impact on people’s sense of satisfaction and daily emotional experiences.

The study, which is based on data from the Gallup World Poll and the World Top Incomes Database, found that the higher the share of income held by the super-rich — or the top 1 percent — the lower the well-being felt by everyone else.

In countries where income inequality is high – such as the United States, South Africa and Colombia – citizens report feeling more negative emotions than in countries where the income gap is smaller.

The study found that rising income inequality, specifically a 1 percent increase in the share of taxable income held by the top 1 percent, is as harmful to a country’s overall well-being as a 1.4 percent rise in the nation’s unemployment.

“[O]ur research shows that, worldwide, income inequality at the very top makes us all less happy with our lives, even if we’re relatively well-off,” study co-author Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, an associate professor in economics and strategy at the University of Oxford, said in a statement.

Why does this occur? The researchers try to answer that question in a report about their findings posted on the Harvard Business Review:

As the very rich get richer, they extend the range of the income distribution. In a practical sense, that means even if you are a member of the relatively well-to-do middle class, some things start getting priced beyond your reach, such as private schools and houses in the best neighborhoods. There might also be a psychological reason for the effect: an increase in the share of income held by the richest 1% can make you feel as if your chance of moving up the ladder and becoming very rich yourself is growing increasingly beyond your reach.

To find out where income disparity is the widest, read “Countries With the Widest Gap Between Rich and Poor.” Find out if you live in one of the “Areas With the Worst Income Inequality in the U.S.

What do you think of the study findings? Do you think the growing income inequality makes you feel less happy in your own life? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
2-Minute Money Strategy: How Should I Invest My Retirement Savings?
2-Minute Money Strategy: How Should I Invest My Retirement Savings?

If retirement is on the horizon, you can’t afford to take too much risk, but you also need to make as much as possible. Here are your options.

8 Things I Always Buy at Target
8 Things I Always Buy at Target

I grew up shopping at the original Target store and am a lifelong fan. Here are my favorite purchases.

How to Save Up to 70% on 7 Everyday Purchases
How to Save Up to 70% on 7 Everyday Purchases

Stop getting sucked into paying a premium when good alternatives are available at huge savings.

14 Products That Keep Foods Fresh Longer
14 Products That Keep Foods Fresh Longer

We’ve rounded up innovative Amazon purchases to lengthen the life of your favorite foods and beverages.

How to Get the Best Possible Deal on Car Insurance
How to Get the Best Possible Deal on Car Insurance

This is the last article on understanding and shopping for car insurance that you’ll ever need.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Whether you resell it for a big profit or add it to your own wardrobe, this type of clothing is a hidden steal.

10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

This Simple Mistake Might Weaken Your COVID-19 Vaccination
This Simple Mistake Might Weaken Your COVID-19 Vaccination

Avoid doing this before you get vaccinated.

10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years
10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years

The cars that owners hold onto the longest have one thing in common, a new study shows.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider
Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

A new study has bad news for the millions of Americans who spend money on multivitamins.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

11 Products Now in Short Supply Due to the Pandemic
11 Products Now in Short Supply Due to the Pandemic

Many goods we take for granted have become tough to find in 2021.

9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car
9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car

Thinking of leaving these possessions in a car? Prepare for unexpected consequences.

9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar
9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar

Cleaning with vinegar can save you a lot of money, but using it like this can cost you.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

10 Things Successful Retirees Do Differently
10 Things Successful Retirees Do Differently

These habits and characteristics can help put you on the track to success.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021
Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021

More than 700 prescription medications have seen price hikes so far this year. Here’s a look at the worst.

7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50
7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50

As we age, our bodies wear down. Here is how to cut costs associated with some common ailments.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.