Charts: How the Recovery Left Most Americans Behind

The Great Recession officially ended five years ago, but the superwealthy have sucked up the gains.

The Great Recession officially ended five years ago, but that’s news for millions of Americans: A stunning 95 percent of income growth since the recovery started has gone to the superwealthy. If an average household currently earning $71,000 had enjoyed the same gains as the 1 percent since 2000, it would now make more than $83,000. And the widening income gap is not just about the 1 percent anymore: Take a closer look, and you’ll see that it’s really a tiny fraction—the 1 percent of the 1 percent—that hoovers up the lion’s share of the nation’s wealth. With Washington paralyzed on bread-and-butter issues and the midterms ahead, we put together a primer on the state of America’s frozen paychecks.


Trickle Up: Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty (Excel)

Whose Recovery?: Boom and recovery gains, 1% gains: Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty (Excel); average household income: Census Bureau

The Rich and the Megarich: World Top Incomes Database

Working More, Earning Less: Household income: Census Bureau; economic growth: St. Louis Fed; 1 percent: Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty (Excel); corporate profits: St. Louis Fed

X Marks the Spot: Historic income share: World Top Incomes Database; future trend: Thomas Piketty (PDF)

Back to the Future: Rome: Walter Scheidel and Steven J. Friesen; US in 1774 and 1860: Peter H. Lindert and Jeffrey G. Williamson; US in 1929-2012: World Top Incomes Database

Race to the Bottom: Income by race: Census Bureau; wealth by race: Edward N. Wolff 

The Asset Crash: Edward N. Wolff 

Happy Returns: Tax rates: The Tax Foundation; top incomes: Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty (Excel)

It’s Not Easy…: Langone, Schwarzman, Perkins, Zell, Rodgers, Asness