’99 Percent’ Did Well Last Year, But Still Lagged Wealthy

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The “99 percent” have started to see the effects of the rebounding economy in their paychecks.

A recently released University of California, Berkeley analysis of the latest income data from the Internal Revenue Service shows that the income of families in the bottom 99 percent grew by 3.3 percent from 2013 to 2014.

That’s the best annual growth rate the 99 percent has seen since 1999.

Among the top 1 percent, however, incomes grew by 10.8 percent during the same 2013-2014 period.

The analysis was written up by economics professor Emmanuel Saez. He is also director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Equitable Growth, which promotes “research that explores ideas for achieving economic growth that is fairly distributed,” the center’s website states.

Saez writes in his analysis:

2014 marks the first year of real recovery from the Great Recession losses for the bottom 99 percent. Top-1-percent families still capture 58 percent of total real income growth per family from 2009-2014, but the recovery from the Great Recession now looks less lopsided than in previous years. …

Nevertheless, inequality remains extremely high.

Other experts also have expressed concern about income inequality.

Earlier this year, the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks 2014 report identified the world’s increasing wealth gap as the risk “most likely to cause serious damage globally in the coming decade.”

Last month, a report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found that the richest 10 percent of the population among OECD members now earn 9.6 times the income of the poorest 10 percent.

The OECD is made up of 34 nations and seeks to improve economic and social well-being worldwide. Among those 34 countries, the report stated that the gap between the disposable household incomes of the rich and the poor is fourth-highest in the United States.

Do you think there is too much income inequality in the U.S.? Sound off in a comment below or on our Facebook page.

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