FiveThirtyEight's Ben Casselman looks at a new analysis by the Economic Policy Institute that shows America's 1% had a good year last year, but that their earnings may be stagnating long-term.
The average person in the top 1% earned an average of $671,061 last year, a nearly 5% rise from 2013's tally, after adjusting for inflation. But drilling down further, the richest of the rich, or the 0.1% of the 1% (a population of about 156,000 people), earned an average $2.5 million last year, up nearly 9% from the year before.
By contrast, the bottom 90 percent of wage earners got just a 1.4 percent pay raise.
... Over the somewhat longer term, inequality in earnings — at least as measured between the richest and everyone else — seems to have leveled off, at least for now. The earnings of the top 0.1 percent haven’t yet returned to their pre-recession peak, after adjusting for inflation. The rest of the 1 percent have seen their earnings rise about 1 percent over the past seven years. Earnings for the bottom 90 percent are basically flat since 2007.
Still, inequality remains high by historical standards. In the years after World War II, the top 1 percent received about 7 percent of all earnings. Today, that group receives roughly twice as much.