Income Gap Yawns to Widest-Ever Level in 2009
The income gap — the disparity in earnings between the wealthiest and poorest Americans — increased to the highest recorded level in 2009, according to the Census Bureau. The Associated Press reports on data from the 2009 American Community Survey released earlier today:
The top-earning 20 percent of Americans – those making more than $100,000 each year – received 49.4 percent of all income generated in the U.S., compared with the 3.4 percent earned by those below the poverty line, according to the newly released Census figures. That ratio of 14.5-to-1 was an increase from 13.6 in 2008 and nearly double a low of 7.69 in 1968.
A different measure, the international Gini index, found U.S. income inequality at its highest level since the Census Bureau began tracking household income in 1967. The U.S. also has the greatest disparity among Western industrialized nations.
Additionally, the recession is taking a toll on marriage, hurrying a preexisting decline in the institution. Just 52 percent of adult Americans reported being married last year, down from 57 percent in 2000.