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Share of average income growth accounted for by the bottom 95 percent, top 5 percent, and top 1 percent, by dataset and income concept, 1979–2007

Bottom 95 percent Top 5 percent Top 1 percent
Burkhauser et al.; CPS household money income, adjusted 73.4% 26.6%
CPS household money income 63.0 37.0
Not top-coded
CBO, household comprehensive income 46.1 53.9 38.3%
Piketty and Saez, cash market income 19.1 80.9 59.8
CBO, household comprehensive income adjusted to match Burkhauser et al.* 48.1 51.9

* Capital gains are excluded, post tax-and-transfer growth is shown, and in-kind benefits such as health care are allowed to boost bottom-fifth incomes to the same degree as allowed by Burkhauser, Larrimore, and Simon (2011).

Source: Burkhauser, Larrimore, and Simon (2011, Table 4), Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement Historical Income Tables (Table H-3), Congressional Budget Office (2010), authors' analysis of Piketty and Saez (2012, Table A-6)

Updated August 7, 2012

Documentation and methodology

Underlying data are from Piketty and Saez (2012, Table A-6); Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement Historical Income Tables, Table H-3, “Mean Household Income Received by Each Fifth and Top 5 percent;” Congressional Budget Office Average Federal Taxes by Income Group, “Sources of Income for All Households, by Household Income Category, 1979 to 2007” [Excel spreadsheet]; and Burkhauser, Larrimore, and Simon (2011), Table 4, “Quintile Income Growth by Business Cycle Using Each Income Series.” Each income concept’s contribution to overall income growth is calculated by multiplying the change in its average income from 1979 to 2007 by its share of the distribution (where, for example, the share of the distribution for the top 1 percent is .01), and dividing the result by the change in overall average income growth over the same time period.

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