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Study finds income gap widening

Study finds income gap widening
Saturday, October 16, 2010 10:09 PM EDT

In the U.S. the rich keep getting richer and the poor are staying stagnant.

According to Census Bureau figures, last year saw the widest income gap between the rich and the poor. The study found that income inequality was at its highest level since the bureau started tracking household incomes in 1967.

“There has been a slow growth in income wages,” said Mark Price, a labor economist for the Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg. “But top groups of households have captured an increasing share of that economic growth.”

Census figures show that the top-earning 20 percent of Americans — those making more than $100,000 annually — received 49.4 percent of all income in the U.S. That is compared with the 3.4 percent earned by those below the poverty line. The ratio of 14.5-to-1 was an increase from 13.6 in 2008 and nearly double the low of 7.69 in 1968.

Matthew Marlin, an economics professor at Duquesne University, said the wide gap between rich and poor incomes reminds him of the recession in 2001.

“When the economy rebounds employment usually goes up. We see it happening more and more with businesses,” he said.


The Census Bureau’s findings state that the U.S. also has the greatest income gap among Western industrialized nations.


“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them…And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

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