Small businesses in Danville, Illinois, are still reeling from the shock of the recession. AP Images

Wealth among high-income households is growing, while the middle-class is stuck in the 1990s.

The fact that America's richest households are financially head and shoulders above everyone else isn't exactly news, but now, it seems, the gap between them and the middle-class is the widest it's been since the Federal Reserve began collecting data 30 years ago. Yes, the Pew Research Center has found that in 2013, the median wealth of rich families was 6.6 times that of middle-income families, and 70 times that of low-income households. Since 1983, the upper tier has doubled its median wealth.

High-income families are almost 7 times richer than middle-income families. (Pew Research Center)

While high-income households have been climbing steadily up the wealth ladder over the last three years, the middle-class is in an economic rut. Middle-income households have been paralyzed since the recession, unable for to make up for what was lost. (Middle- and low-income household wealth fell by around 40 percent in 2007, while median wealth of the upper tier declined by 17 percent—so the rich didn't have as much catching up to do). Between 2010 and 2013, America's high-income households have raised their median wealth by an average of $44,000, while middle-income wealth has remained stagnant.

Rich are getting richer, while the middle class is standing still. (Pew Research Center)

This explains why, despite added jobs and better earnings reports, a majority of Americans are still not cheery about the economy—the middle-class and low-income population (and especially, racial and ethnic minorities) have yet to really start their recoveries. Their wealth has receded to early 1990s-levels, and so far, it's staying there.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Life

    Having a Library or Cafe Down the Block Could Change Your Life

    Living close to public amenities—from parks to grocery stores—increases trust, decreases loneliness, and restores faith in local government.

  2. Opponents of SB 50.
    Equity

    Despite Resistance, Cities Turn to Density to Tackle Housing Inequality

    Residential "upzoning” policies being adopted from Minneapolis to Seattle were once politically out of the question. Now they’re just politically fraught.

  3. Two horses standing in a field with fences and a large white barn in the background.
    Design

    America’s First Greenbelt May Be in Jeopardy

    Adopted in the 1950s to protect the city’s iconic horse farms, the urban growth boundary of Lexington, Kentucky, no longer seems unassailable.

  4. Car with Uber spray painted on it.
    Transportation

    The Dangerous Standoff Between Uber and Buenos Aires

    While Uber and Argentine officials argue over whether the company is an app or a transportation company, drivers suffer fines, violence, and instability.

  5. A map of the money service-class workers have left over after paying for housing
    Equity

    Blue-Collar and Service Workers Fare Better Outside Superstar Cities

    How much money do workers have after paying housing costs? For working-class and service workers in superstar cities, the affordable housing crisis hits harder.