To quote the New York Times
This week’s census report showed that income inequality was near all-time highs in 2004, with 50.1 percent of income going to the top 20 percent of households. And additional census data obtained by the Economic Policy Institute show that only the top 5 percent of households experienced real income gains in 2004. Incomes for the other 95 percent of households were flat or falling.
For fairness and comparison, in Australia, for 2003-04:
- the top 20% brought home 37.4% of the income. (In the last ten years, that’s ranged from 37.1% (1996) to 38.5% (2000))
- the wealthiest 20% of households in Australia account for 59% of total household net worth, with average net worth of $1.4 million per household
- the poorest 20% of households account for 1% of total household net worth, with an average net worth of $23,000 per household.
Source: the Australian Bureau of Statistics (here and here)
Maybe it’s my socialist tendencies, but I can’t help thinking there’s something unfair about a society where the top 20% own nearly 60 times as much, on average as the bottom 20%, and half as much as the bottom 80% put together…