The Statistics on So-Called “Income Inequality”

It is amazing what just a little hard work will get you!
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Professor Mark Rank, Washington University, coauthor of Chasing the American Dream: Understanding What Shapes Our Fortunes, tells a story of his own and others’ research, last Sunday’s New York Times.

“Far from having the twenty-first century equivalent of an Edwardian class system, the United States is characterized by a great deal of variation in income. More than half of all adult Americans will be at or near the poverty line at some point over the course of their lives.” More than half. “Seventy-three percent will also find themselves in the top 20% over the course of their life. Thirty-nine percent will make it into the top 5% for at least a year. And perhaps most remarkable, 12% of Americans will be in the top 1% for at least one year of their working lives.

“The top 1% is such an unstable group, it makes no sense to write, as many progressives do, about what has happened to its income over the past 10 or 20 years because it doesn’t contain same group of people from year to year.” The United States is still and indeed the land of opportunity. The American dream is still possible, and it’s still happening. People from all walks of life in and out of various income levels, we are not static, and we are not destined to be in one income level for all of our lives, until people like Obama gain full control.



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