Income >> Median Income >> Distribution by Quintile

Are the rich getting richer?

Economic inequality is linked to crime, social exclusion, despair, and negative health outcomes. One measure of economic inequality is the distribution of total income across households divided into 5 equal-sized groups ranked from the lowest-earning to the highest-earning fifths of the population. 

Almost half of all income in King County in 2010 was concentrated in the top one-fifth of income-earners.

  • Over the past 3 decades, King County’s low wage earners have taken progressively smaller portions of total income as the distribution of income continued its gradual shift to households at the highest income levels.
  • National data parallel the pattern for King County.

Although King County data are not available on the distribution of wealth (assets minus liabilities), national trends show that by 2010 wealth had become even more concentrated than income at the upper end of the distribution (data not shown here).

  • The bottom half of the country’s wealth distribution now holds only 1% of the country’s wealth (down from 3% in 1989). 
  • More than 1/3 of U.S. net worth is in the hands of the wealthiest 1%.
  • 75% of net worth is held by the wealthiest 10%.