Income inequality in many developed countries has reached an all-time high, according to a report released Thursday by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The report also notes that growth of social inequality has been accompanied by the growth of part-time and contingent labor, particularly for younger workers.
The wealthiest tenth of the population in OECD member countries now earn 9.6 times the income of the poorest 10 percent, up from nine times in the 2000s, and seven times in the 1980s.
“Inequality in OECD countries is at its highest since records began,” said OECD Secretary-General Angela Gurria. The OECD is composed of 34 advanced economies, including the United States, members of the European Union, Japan, Korea, Mexico and several others.
The report notes that in 2012, “the bottom 40% owned only 3% of total household wealth in the 18 OECD countries with comparable data. By contrast, the top 10% controlled half of all total household wealth and the wealthiest 1% owned 18%.”
The United States is the fourth most unequal country in the OECD, after Chile, Mexico and Turkey.
In the mid-1980s, the top 10 percent of US income earners took in 11 times more than the bottom 20 percent. This figure rose to 12.5 times in the mid-1990s, but in 2013, the US’s top 10 percent made 19 times more than the bottom 10 percent.
Wealth inequality in the United States is even greater than income inequality. In the US, the top 10 percent controls 76 percent of all the wealth, while the bottom 60 percent owns just 2.5 percent. The top five percent of households in the US have about 91 times more wealth than the average household.