Middle-income households' share of the nation's total income fell from 62 percent in 1970 to 43 percent in 2018, according to the Pew Research Center, a Washington think tank. Upper-income households increased their share from 29 percent to 48 percent during the same period. The share for lower-income households was almost unchanged. (Total does not add up to 100 percent due to rounding.)

Source: Juliana Menasce Horowitz, Ruth Igielnik and Rakesh Kochhar, “Most Americans Say There Is Too Much Economic Inequality In The U.S., But Fewer Than Half Call It A Top Priority,” Pew Research Center, Jan. 9, 2020, https://tinyurl.com/t9mct5k

Data for the graphic are as follows:

Year Percentage Share of Middle Income Households Percentage Share of Upper income Households Percentage Share of Lower income Households
1970 62% 29% 10%
2018 43% 48% 9%

close window