August 30, 2006 (Poverty Byte)
The release of U.S. Census Bureau income data for 2005 shows a rise in income inequality since the last economic peak. Since 2000, households in the bottom fifth of the income distribution have seen their inflation-adjusted income drop by 5.6 percent and only households in the top fifth have seen their income rise, increasing by 0.8 percent (Figure 1). Black households in the bottom two-fifths of the income distribution have seen their inflation-adjusted income fall by over 10 percent – by 12.3 percent for those in the bottom fifth and 11.4 percent for those in the second fifth.
Figure 1: Growth in Inflation-Adjusted Income, by Income Fifth,
All Households, 2000 - 2005
Figure 2: Growth in Inflation-Adjusted Income, by Income Fifths,
Black and Hispanic Households, 2000 - 2005
Heather Boushey is senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC
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