Wealth, Income and Inequality

Data and analysis on Wealth, Income and Inequality

Qu: how have incomes of different social groups changed over time?

More specifically: Real income changes by quintile (plus top 5% and top 1%) in last 40+ years in the US?

An: check out this dataset - https://datahub.io/core/household-income-us-historical


The most widely used sources of data and statistics on household income and its distribution are the annual survey of households conducted as part of the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) and the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Statistics of Income (SOI) data compiled from a large sample of individual income tax returns. The Census Bureau publishes annual reports on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in the United States based on the CPS data,[2] and the IRS publishes an annual report on individual income tax returns based on the SOI.[3] While the Federal Reserve also collects income data in its triennial Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF),[4] the SCF is more valuable as the best source of survey data on wealth.

Each agency produces its own tables and statistics and makes a public-use file of the underlying data available to other researchers. In addition, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has developed a model that combines CPS and SOI data to estimate household income both before and after taxes, as well as average taxes paid by income group back to 1979.[5] Economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez have used SOI data to construct estimates of the concentration of income at the top of the distribution back to 1913.[6] That work has been expanded recently to examine trends in wealth concentration.[7] CBO and Piketty-Saez regularly release reports incorporating the latest available data. source

Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, “Wealth Inequality in the United States since 1913: Evidence from Capitalized Income Tax Data,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 131, No. 2, May 2016, http://eml.berkeley.edu/~saez/SaezZucman2016QJE.pdf.

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