Chart of the Week: Nearly Half of All Americans Don’t Pay Income Taxes

This year’s Index of Dependence on Government presented startling findings about the sharp increase of Americans who rely on the federal government for housing, food, income, student aid or other assistance. (See last week’s chart.)

Another eye-popping number was the percentage of Americans who don’t pay income taxes, which now accounts for nearly half of the U.S. population. Meanwhile, most of that population receives generous federal benefits.

“One of the most worrying trends in the Index is the coinciding growth in the non-taxpaying public,” wrote Heritage authors Bill Beach and Patrick Tyrrell. “The percentage of people who do not pay federal income taxes, and who are not claimed as dependents by someone who does pay them, jumped from 14.8 percent in 1984 to 49.5 percent in 2009.”

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