Data Bank Focus: Income Disparity

By Betsy Shepherd

Nov. 8, 2011

Occupy Wall Street and other demonstrations against corporate America may be haphazardly organized and lack cogency, but a look at the growing income disparity in the country suggests why protesters are so angry. U.S. Census results show that the 20 percent of households earning the highest income have seen their share steadily increase, while the bottom 60 percent’s share has steadily decreased.

Over the past 40 years, from 1970 to 2010, average income for those in the middle quintile has increased a mere $5,000—from $44,000 to $49,000. For those in the highest quintile, income has increased by $61,000—from $109,000 to $170,000. However, the recession hit the income for households in the highest quintile the hardest. They experienced a $10,000 drop in income from 2000 to 2010 vs. the $4,000 drop from 2000 to 2010 for the middle quintile.

Workforce Management, September 2011, p.22Subscribe Now!

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