Top one per cent pocket 93 per cent of US dosh

Reuters / Rick Wilking
The wealthiest 1% of Americans, earning over $350,000 a year, gobbled up 93% of income gains in 2010, according to a recent report.

The paper by Emmanuel Saez from the World Top Incomes Database (WTIC) titled "Striking It Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States" is based on research of income growth between 1993 and 2010. It reveals that during the Great Recession of 2007-2009, the average family income fell 17.4%, while the income of the top 1% dropped 36.3%. If the top 1% is excluded from the data, the income of the remaining 99% would drop 11.6%, the report says.

But at the time of recovery in 2010 the average income grew 2.3%, with the bottom 99% income up 0.2%, while the top 1% saw 11.6% growth.

“Such an uneven recovery can help explain the recent public demonstrations against inequality. It is likely that this uneven recovery has continued in 2011 as the stock market has continued to recover”, says the report.

National Accounts statistics show that corporate profits and dividends distributed have grown strongly in 2011 while wage and salary accruals have only grown modestly.”

The data shows, the wealth of the top 1% was significantly pushed by capital gains from financial assets as they recovered quickly on the market. While families that exist on salaries only have seen a modest growth of income.

Summing up the results for the full period of 1993-2010, the report shows that the average family income grew 13.8%, while the income of the bottom 99% added 6.4%, with the top 1% income growing 58%.