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Inequality is getting worse, but fewer people than ever are aware of it

May 9, 2017

Inequality is getting worse, but fewer people than ever are aware of it

May 9, 2017

Inequality in America is on the rise. Income gains since the 1980s have been concentrated at the top. The top 10 percent today take home 30 percent of all income, and control over three-quarters of all wealth. We have returned to the level of income inequality that marked the Great Depression of the 1920s and 1930s.


Who gets what in America continues to be impacted by a person’s race, gender and family resources. What’s striking, however, is how little people seem to notice.


Evidence from the International Social Survey Programme suggests that people increasingly think their society is a meritocracy – that success in school and business simply reflects hard work and talent. This belief is held most dearly by Americans, but citizens across the world are growing more convinced.

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About the Author

Jonathan Mijs

Jonathan Mijs

Graduate Student Affiliate

Jonathan Mijs is a PhD student in sociology at Harvard University. He hails from Amsterdam, where he earned his BSc in sociology from the Universiteit van Amsterdam. He was a visiting student ...
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