Features, Finance, Law and Politics, Municipal Government, National

Top 1%’s Incomes Hit Record High

October 31, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

WASHINGTON—Wages for the top 1% of Americans hit a record high in 2017, according to an analysis of Social Security Administration wage data released Oct. 18 by the Economic Policy Institute. The report found the average salary for the top 1% was $719,000, topping the record set in 2007 and an increase of 3.7% over 2016. The top 0.1% did even better, with their average salary up 8%, to $2,757,000—while Americans in the bottom 90% saw their wages rise by only 1%. Since 1979, the EPI said, incomes for the top 1% have more than doubled, rising 157% after adjusting for inflation, and those of the top 0.1% more than quadrupled. Wages for the bottom 90% went up by only 22% in that era, the EPI said, and their wage growth since the 2009 recession has been “very modest”—only 5.4%, including the income gained by people who found new jobs after the Great Recession. “These disparities in wage growth reflect a major change in the distribution of wages since 1979,” the EPI said: The bottom 90%’s share fell from 70% of all earnings to 61%, while the top 1%’s take almost doubled, from 7.3% to 13.4%. Read more

October 31, 2018

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