by Karen D. Lincoln
” Levels of economic inequality—encompassing inequality in the distribution of income and wealth—have hit unprecedented heights and appear to be rising. In 2014, the average income for adults in the United States was $64,600. However, this average obscures a great deal of heterogeneity (Piketty, Saez, and Zucman, 2018). The bottom 50 percent of adults earned on average $16,200 per year, while the middle 40 percent earned roughly the same income as the U.S. average. In stark contrast, the top 10 percent received 47 percent of all U.S. income—$304,000, which is 4.7 times the national average, while the top 1 percent of adults earned $1,300,000—twenty times the national average income. Today, the top 1 percent takes home more than 20 percent of all income in the United States.
“The extreme disparity in income and wealth distribution has a real and distinct impact on older adults. According to the latest data, more than 7 million older adults are living below the Federal Poverty Line, per the Supplemental Poverty Measure (Cubanski et al., 2018). This number will increase to 72 million by 2030.”