In 2015, the top 1% of Americans made 26.3 times as much income as the bottom 99 percent — an increase from 2013, when they earned 25.3 times as much, according to a recent study released by the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning Washington, D.C. think tank.
The incomes of the top 1% grew faster than the bottom 99% in 43 states between 2009 and 2015. In nine states in the U.S., the top 1% represents more than half of all income growth.
“Rising inequality affects virtually every part of the country, not just large urban areas or financial centers,” said Estelle Sommeiller, a socio-economist at the Institute for Research in Economic and Social Sciences in France and author on the study. “It’s a persistent problem throughout the country — in big cities and small towns, in all 50 states. While the economy continues to recover, policy makers should make it a top priority to grow the incomes of working people while reining in corporate profits.”
Another theory on the cause of the rising inequality: The decline of unions, according to a study released by the EPI in August 2017. Today, only 11% of American workers are covered by unions, which is a sharp contrast from the 1950s when a third of the U.S. workforce was unionized or in a job represented by a union. Union workers these days earn on average 13.2% more than non-unionized workers with similar education and experience in the same sector.