Shutterstock

Since the 2008 crash, the rich have bounced back just a little bit faster than everyone else.

In the economic recovery since the 2008 crash, the rich have bounced back just a little bit faster than everyone else.

That is to say, that for the first time in recorded history, the richest 10 percent of families received half of all income in 2012. This figure, which comes from an annual income inequality study by prominent economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty, illustrates that "even after the recession the country remains in a kind of new Gilded Age."

The chart below shows the record gain:

You can see that in 2012, top 10 percent income share creeps above 50 percent for the first time. 

Since the Great Recession, the rich have simply had an easier time getting back what they lost. Senior Brookings Institution fellow Justin Wolfers notes from the study that in the years since the crash (2009-2012), the average income of the top one percent has risen 31.4 percent, while the average income of the other 99 percent has risen only 0.4 percent. Saez, a professor at UC-Berkeley, wrote in his analysis, 

These results suggest the Great Recession has only depressed top income shares temporarily and will not undo any of the dramatic increase in top income shares that has taken place since the 1970s.

There is a little bit of hope for the 99 percenters: while income growth was stagnant from 2009-2011, it started growing again in 2012. But only by about 1 percent. 

Wolfers cautions, however, that "it's easy to wring your hands about inequality. Easier still, to laugh at apologists. Much harder to find policies yielding inclusive growth." 

Top image: Andresr/Shutterstock.com

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic Wire.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    You Can’t Design Bike-Friendly Cities Without Considering Race and Class

    Bike equity is a powerful tool for reducing inequality. Too often, cycling infrastructure is tailored only to wealthy white cyclists.

  2. A photo of a visitor posing for a photo with Elvis in downtown Nashville
    Perspective

    Cities: Don’t Fall in the Branding Trap

    From Instagram stunts to Edison bulbs, why do so many cities’ marketing plans try to convince people that they’re exactly like somewhere else?

  3. Children and adults sit on and around a deck with multi-colored chairs and giant LEGOs.
    POV

    If You Build It, They Might Not Come: Animating City Spaces

    Why do revamped areas remain barren after so much thought and money are put into redesigning them? A case study in Charlotte, North Carolina, offers clues.

  4. Amazon HQ2

    Amazon’s HQ2 Fiasco Will Cost the Company More Than It Costs New York

    The mega-company has bucked dealing reasonably with New York City, Seattle, and any community that asks them to pay for its freight.

  5. Villa 31, an informal settlement in Buenos Aires
    Equity

    The Global Housing Crisis

    Scarce, unaffordable housing is not a local problem in a few places, but is baked into the 21st-century global city. It’s time for cities, nations, and global leaders to start acting like it.