David Cay Johnston writing at Tax Analysts has a superb visualization of the growth in Income inequality in America. The chart below features data taken from the Internal Revenue Service and highlights the growth in income inequality in the USA since the 1960s.
The bottom 90 percent is represented by an inch-high bar while the growth of the top 10 percent needs a 163 foot-tall bar and the top 0.01% need a 4.9 mile-high bar to represent their wealth growth.
The income growth and shrinkage figures come from analysis of the latest IRS data by economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty, who have won acclaim for their studies of worldwide income patterns over the last century.
In 2011 entry into the top 10 percent, where all the gains took place, required an adjusted gross income of at least $110,651. The top 1 percent started at $366,623.
The top 1 percent enjoyed 81 percent of all the increased income since 2009. Just over half of the gains went to the top one-tenth of 1 percent, and 39 percent of the gains went to the top 1 percent of the top 1 percent.
Ponder that last fact for a moment — the top 1 percent of the top 1 percent, those making at least $7.97 million in 2011, enjoyed 39 percent of all the income gains in America. In a nation of 158.4 million households, just 15,837 of them received 39 cents out of every dollar of increased income.