The New York Times has an interesting piece today in their City Room blog that analyzes the wealth distribution of American households from 1913 (when federal income tax was first imposed) to today. In 1913, for example, “the richest 0.1 percent of households reaped 8.6 percent of the nation’s income.” In 2007, that percent took 12.3 percent, and today, “the top 0.01 percent of households — is collecting a greater share of total income than ever before recorded.” Which means, protesters down at Zuccotti, you’re sort of right about this whole uneven wealth distribution thing. Not that we didn’t know that already.
In New York City, that disparity between the very rich and the not rich at all is even more dramatic, and also, geographically localized. From the Times:
Among the 1 percent of American households with the highest income, a significant portion, 13 percent, live in the New York metropolitan area, with 4.4 percent living in Manhattan, according to an analysis by Andrew A. Beveridge, a sociologist at Queens College. In three Manhattan neighborhoods, the Upper East and Upper West Sides and Greenwich Village, more than 11 percent of the households make enough to qualify for the top 1 percent.
No mention of Wall Street in terms of where the 1 percent live…however, sources of income have changed from the days of captains of industry and wealthy landowners, with the majority of the mega-rich employed as “financial and corporate executives” — one of whom, former Goldman Sachs board member and McKinsey managing director Rajat Gupta, a guest at Barack Obama’s first state dinner, has just turned himself in to federal authorities to face criminal charges for insider trading.
Also in the Times, “The top 1 percent of earners more than doubled their share of the nation’s income over the last three decades,” according to the Congressional Budget Office, while government policy has done less to reduce the concentration of income. Notably,
People in the lowest fifth of the population received about 5 percent of after-tax household income in 2007, down from 7 percent in 1979.