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The Lookout

Separate but unequal: Charts show growing rich-poor gap

Zachary Roth
The Lookout

The Great Recession and the slump that followed have triggered a jobs crisis that's been making headlines since before President Obama was in office, and that will likely be with us for years. But the American economy is also plagued by a less-noted, but just as serious, problem: Simply put, over the last 30 years, the gap between rich and poor has widened into a chasm.

Gradual developments like this don't typically lend themselves to news coverage. But Mother Jones magazine has crunched the data on inequality, and put together a group of stunning new charts. Taken together, they offer a dramatic visual illustration of who's doing well and who's doing badly in modern America.

Here are three samples:

• This chart shows that the poorest 90 percent of Americans make an average of $31,244 a year, while the top 1 percent make over $1.1 million:

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wealth distribution chart

• According to this chart, most income groups have barely grown richer since 1979. But the top 1 percent has seen its income nearly quadruple:

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Wealth share chart

• And this chart suggests most Americans have little idea of just how unequal income distribution is. And that they'd like things to be divvied up a lot more equitably:

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Chart showing US attitudes on wealth inequality

Inequality chart

To see the rest of these fascinating charts, click on over to Mother Jones.

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