Top 1% in PA captured 89.2 percent of income growth since 2009

New Study: The top 1% captured 42.8 percent of income growth from 1979 to 2007
Date of Press Release: 
June 16, 2016

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Download all county and metropolitan tables for Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, PA — While the incomes of the bottom 99 percent of families grew slightly (0.2 percent) the incomes of the top 1 percent of Pennsylvania families grew by 8 percent from 2009 to 2013, according to a new report on Income inequality in the U.S. by state, metropolitan area and county, published by the Economic Policy Institute for the Economic Analysis Research Network (EARN).

The paper, by Estelle Sommeiller, Mark Price and Ellis Wazeter, shows that the top 1 percent of income earners captured the majority of income growth since the Great Recession in 24 states – with the top 1 percent taking home all income growth in 15 states.

“Rising inequality is one of the most pressing challenges we face in the Commonwealth,” said Price, a labor economist at the Keystone Research Center. “It’s a persistent problem here and throughout the country – in big cities and small towns, in all 50 states. In the face of this national problem, we need local, state national policy solutions to jumpstart wage growth for the vast majority of Americans.”

For every county and state, as well as in 916 metropolitan areas , Sommeiller, Price and Wazeter provide the average incomes of the top 1 percent, the income required to be in the top 1 percent, and the gap between the top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent.

Key findings for Pennsylvania include:

  • During the six economic expansions between 1949 and 1980, the bottom 99 percent of families in Pennsylvania captured 93% of income growth. During the four economic expansions since 1980, the bottom 99 percent have captured a smaller and smaller share of income growth: From 1982 to 1990 the bottom 99 percent captured 65 percent of income growth. From 1991 to 2000 the bottom 99 percent captured 64% of income growth.  From 2001 to 2007 the bottom 99% captured 51 percent of income growth. So far in the current economic expansion the bottom 99% of families have captured just 11% of income growth in Pennsylvania. 
  • The top 1 percent earned 20 times more than the bottom 99 percent in Pennsylvania, making Pennsylvania the 20th most unequal state in the country. 
  • The average income of the top 1 percent of Pennsylvanians in 2013 was $926,051 while the bottom 99 percent on average earned $45,781.
  • To be in the top 1 percent in Pennsylvania, one would have to earn $360,343.
  • The most unequal county in Pennsylvania in 2013 was Montgomery, where the top 1% earned 27 times more than the bottom 99 percent in the county. Relative to the nation, Montgomery is the 123rd most unequal county (out of 3064 counties in the United States).
  • The average income of the top 1 percent in Montgomery County in 2013 was $2,039,026, while the average income of the bottom 99 percent was $74,491.
  • The most unequal metropolitan area in Pennsylvania in 2013 was Warren (a county, and also a small metro area, east of Erie County) where the top 1 percent earned 25 times ($799,067) more than the bottom 99% ($32,664).  Relative to the nation Warren is the 66th most unequal metropolitan area in the country.
  • The average income of the top 1 percent in the Warren in 2013 was $799,067 while the bottom 99% earned $32,664.

Read the full EARN report at http://www.epi.org/publication/income-inequality-in-the-us/ and get more PA specific details including for all 67 counties and 35 metropolitan areas at http://goo.gl/llOIGW