RALEIGH (January 26, 2015) – The top 1 percent of North Carolina earners took home almost 20 times the average income for everyone else in 2012, according to new analysis by EPI for the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN).

The Increasingly Unequal States of America: Income Inequality by State, 1917 to 2012, which analyzes data for all 50 states, finds that inequality is rising in North Carolina and throughout the country. Estelle Sommelier and Mark Price, authors of the report, calculate it took an annual income of roughly $700,000 to make it into the top 1 percent of North Carolina earners in 2012.

The incomes of the top 1 percent have grown faster than the income of the bottom 99 percent in all states except West Virginia. Even more striking, the report shows that the top 1 percent in North Carolina captured all of the net income growth during the first five years of the recovery. From 2009 to 2012, incomes in the top 1 percent went up by more than 20 percent, while the rest of North Carolina actually saw income decline slightly.

“We’re looking at a 1 percent recovery,” said Patrick McHugh, economic analyst with the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the NC Justice Center. “Many North Carolinians are still waiting for the recovery to show up in their bank account which means that our economy is far from reaching its full potential.”

The report also shows the longer trend in North Carolina is consistent with more recent trends: incomes in the top 1 percent have been growing faster than for everyone else since the 1970s, as it has across the U.S. Income for the top earners in North Carolina grew by nearly 130 percent between 1979 and 2012, where average income for the bottom 99 percent only increased by 10.5 percent.

“Income growth that is not broadly shared hampers everyone’s economic well-being,” said Alexandra Forter Sirota, director of the Budget & Tax Center. “These historic data make it clear that unequal income growth doesn’t have to be a given. Just as in the past, we need today’s policymakers to focus on policies that support growing the incomes of everyone and not just those at the top.”

Read the full report at this link: https://www.epi.org/publication/income-inequality-by-state-1917-to-2012/

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Patrick McHugh, Patrick@ncjustice.org, 919.856.2183; Jeff Shaw, jeff@ncjustice.org, 503.551.3615 (cell).