‘Wages and wives’ are a big reason the rich are getting richer

Over the past four decades, the gap between those at the top of the income ladder and everyone else has widened. The “top” here includes, but is not limited to, the top 1%. A larger group, equivalent to the top fifth of the income ladder, have seen their incomes rise faster than the majority of Americans.

The top fifth (quintile) of US households saw a $4 trillion increase in combined pretax income in the years between 1979 and 2013. The combined rise for the bottom 80%, by comparison, was just over $3 trillion. The gap between the bottom fifth and the middle fifth has not widened at all. In fact there has been no increase in inequality among the bottom 80%.

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