July 14, 2006 – The top one percent wealthiest Americans enjoyed an increase in income far greater than the rest of the populationâ€™s from 2003 to 2004, according an analysis released this week by a progressive think tank.
While that richest one-hundredth of Americans saw their income go up by almost 17 percent, everyone else saw an average rise of 3 percent, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported.
The report also found that 2004 saw an unusually high jump in how much of the nationâ€™s wealth went to the top 1 percent. The wealthiest took a fifth of the American pie, up 2 percentage points from 2003. Since 1913, such an increase in wealth concentration has only been experience five times, according to the Center. The 2 percent increase amounts to a total of approximately $136 billion.
According to the report, weak wage and salary increases and the rapid growth of corporate profits have contributed to the growing inequality.
In January, the Center released another report finding that growth in employment and was less than half of the average growth rate during other economic recovery periods since World War II. Meanwhile, corporate profits rose by 15.9 percent, almost twice the average.
As these trends continue in 2006, the report said, income concentration to the wealthiest populations will also continue.