Not since just before the Great Depression has the income gap between rich and poor Americans been so vast. The top 1 percent of U.S. families has an income, on average, $1,153,293 a year — about 25 times the $45,567 earned on average by the rest of American families.
Those numbers are from a report, “Income Inequality in the U.S. by State, Metropolitan Area, and County,” by the Economic Policy Institute. EPI, a nonpartisan think tank, examined state-level tax data from 1917 through 2013 (the latest year available) to report the gap, the earnings and the trends in every state.
Overall, the top 1 percent of earners took home 20.1 percent of all income in the U.S. in 2013. Mark Price, a labor economist at the Keystone Research Center and study co-author, says, in an email interview:
Although we observe different levels of inequality across the states, over time we observe that inequality has gotten much greater across all states since 1979. So while inequality may be worse in New York than in parts of the South, inequality is up in the South as well, and that is largely because an increasing amount of income is flowing to the top 1 percent of families in every part of the country.