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'Little Evidence' Wealth Inequality Is Going to Change Anytime Soon

New study finds wealth gap doubled over past decade

Photo: mSeattle/cc/flickr

Photo: mSeattle/cc/flickr

The wealth gap roughly doubled over the past decade—a sign of a trend of growing inequality this likely to continue, a new study (pdf) finds.

Using data from 2003 to 2013, the University of Michigan researchers found that those at the bottom were disproportionately hit by losses in the Great Recession, though net worth by all but the top five percent was lower in 2013 than it was in 2003.

While the wealthiest 5 percent held 13 times more wealth than the median household in 2003, a decade later, that disparity surged to 24 times more wealth in the hands of the top bracket, the researchers found.


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"The American economy has experienced rising income and wealth inequality for several decades, and there is little evidence that these trends are likely to reverse in the near term," stated Fabian Pfeffer, assistant research professor at the U-M Institute for Social Research, and lead author of the study.

"It is possible that the very slow recovery from the Great Recession will continue to generate increased wealth inequality in the coming years as those hardest hit may still be drawing down the few assets they have left to cover current consumption and the housing market continues to grow at a modest pace," Pfeffer stated.


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