State of the Union 2016: Income Inequality

When disposable-income inequality is measured across 20–35 years of survey data, the consistent result is that the U.S. has the highest level of disposable-income inequality among rich countries. Some countries have experienced periods of falling, as well as rising, inequality over the last three decades. The simple, but important, conclusion to draw is that rising income inequality is not inevitable. Policy and markets can both make a difference.

Reference Information


Jonathan Fisher,
Timothy Smeeding


Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality

Publication Date: 

February 2016