Income Inequality in the United States

Best Essays
Income inequality not only harms us fiscally, but also affects our mental and physical wellbeing; therefore, it is important to identify the right ways to control wealth distribution among people. History Income inequality in the United States has increased and decreased throughout history, but in the recent years, the widening gap has become a serious issue. Income inequality is usually measured by Gini coefficient. According to this method coefficient varies between 0 and 100; while 0 represents complete equality (income is distributed equally among all the population of the country), 100 represents complete inequality (only one person receives all the country’s income, while the rest of the population receives nothing). According to the Census of Bureau, the official Gini coefficient in the U.S. was 46.9 in 2010. This is way higher than the all-time low coefficient of 38.6 set in 1968 (qtd. in Babones). The first era of income inequality in the United States lasted from post-civil war to around 1937, but in the following ten years income inequality fell dramatically. Between the end of World War II and the late 1970s, income inequality in the U.S. was reduced; but since 1970s, the situation with wealth distribution has changed. Data from tax returns in 1976 show that the top 1 percent of households received 8.9 percent of all pre-tax income. In 2008, the top 1 percent’s share had more than doubled to 21.0 percent. Source: “Income Inequality.” (n.d.) In the years from 1979 to 2009, the top 5 percent witnessed large increases in income, while the lowest-income fifth saw a decrease in real income. Source: “Income Inequality.” (n.d.) Between 2009 and 2012, income gains by the top one percent increased by over 30 pe... ... middle of paper ... ...nited States has been changing over the time. It also provides historical tables. The first table shows that pre-tax income of top 1 percent had more than doubled between 1976 and 2008. And the other table shows that from 1979 to 2009, the top 5% had large increase in real income, while the bottom 20% saw a decrease in real income. Scarborough, Joe. “Top 1% Took 95% of Gains Since 2009.” Tampa Bay Times. January 21, 2014. Web. March 11, 2014. In this article the authors shows how income inequality has been changing over the time. He also tries to emphasize how large this gap has become by comparing income and taxation of the top 1% with the rest of the nation. Sutter, John. “7 Ways to Narrow the Rich-Poor Gap.” CNN Opinion. October 30, 2013. Web. March 15, 2014. This article is primarily focused on revealing an opinion on how to combat income inequality.
Get Access