The top 1 percent took home the majority of income growth since the Great Recession in 24 states

RALEIGH (June 16, 2016) — Between 2009 and 2013, the top 1 percent captured 85.1 percent of total income growth in the United States, according to “Income inequality in the US by state, metropolitan area, and county,” a new paper published by EPI for the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN).

In the paper, Mark Price, an economist at the Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg, PA and Estelle Sommeiller, a socio-economist at the Institute for Research in Economic and Social Sciences in Greater Paris, France show that the top 1 percent of income earners captured the majority of income growth since the Great Recession in 24 states—with the top 1 percent taking home all income growth in 15 states. In North Carolina, on average, the top 1 percent earned almost 18 times more than everyone else in the state in 2013.

“This research just confirms what most North Carolinians already know,” said Patrick McHugh, Economic Analyst with the North Carolina Budget & Tax Center. “The powerful and well-heeled are getting further ahead while most folks who work for a living aren’t getting the same breaks.”

In their latest examination of income inequality throughout the country, Price and Sommeiller detail the incomes of the top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent by state and, for the first time, by metropolitan area and county. The paper lays out the average incomes of the top 1 percent, the income required to be in the top 1 percent, and the gap between the top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent in every county and state as well as in 916 metropolitan areas.

Key findings in North Carolina include:

  • The top 1 percent earned 17.7 times more than the bottom 99 percent in North Carolina in 2013.
  • The average annual income of the top 1 percent in North Carolina was $745,686 in 2013. To be in the top 1 percent in North Carolina, one would have to earn at least $327,549.
  • Inflation-adjusted incomes for the top 1 percent doubled between 1979 and 2009, while the rest of North Carolina only saw incomes increase by 10 percent.

The share of income earned by the top 1 percent reached a post–Great Recession peak in 2012, thanks in part to tax planning that shifted to 2012 taxable income that would otherwise have been reported in 2013. As a result, the average income of the top 1 percent fell 14 percent between 2012 and 2013.

To get a copy of our factsheet about the North Carolina findings, including charts and graphics you can use, click here.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT Patrick McHugh, Budget & Tax Center Economic Analyst, (919) 856-2183,; or Mel Umbarger, Senior Communications Specialist, (919) 856-2567 or