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U.S. income distribution by quintile appears in [link] . In 2011, for example, the bottom quintile of the income distribution received 3.2% of income; the second quintile received 8.4%; the third quintile, 14.3%; the fourth quintile, 23.0%; and the top quintile, 51.14%. The final column of [link] shows what share of income went to households in the top 5% of the income distribution: 22.3% in 2011. Over time, from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, the top fifth of the income distribution typically received between about 43% to 44% of all income. The share of income that the top fifth received then begins to rise. According to the Census Bureau, much of this increase in the share of income going to the top fifth can be traced to an increase in the share of income going to the top 5%. The quintile measure shows how income inequality has increased in recent decades.

(Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Table 2)
Share of aggregate income received by each fifth and top 5% of households, 1967–2013
Year Lowest Quintile Second Quintile Third Quintile Fourth Quintile Highest Quintile Top 5%
1967 4.0 10.8 17.3 24.2 43.6 17.2
1970 4.1 10.8 17.4 24.5 43.3 16.6
1975 4.3 10.4 17.0 24.7 43.6 16.5
1980 4.2 10.2 16.8 24.7 44.1 16.5
1985 3.9 9.8 16.2 24.4 45.6 17.6
1990 3.8 9.6 15.9 24.0 46.6 18.5
1995 3.7 9.1 15.2 23.3 48.7 21.0
2000 3.6 8.9 14.8 23.0 49.8 22.1
2005 3.4 8.6 14.6 23.0 50.4 22.2
2010 3.3 8.5 14.6 23.4 50.3 21.3
2013 3.2 8.4 14.4 23.0 51 22.2

It can also be useful to divide the income distribution in ways other than quintiles; for example, into tenths or even into percentiles (that is, hundredths). A more detailed breakdown can provide additional insights. For example, the last column of [link] shows the income received by the top 5% percent of the income distribution. Between 1980 and 2013, the share of income going to the top 5% increased by 5.7 percentage points (from 16.5% in 1980 to 22.2% in 2013). From 1980 to 2013 the share of income going to the top quintile increased by 7.0 percentage points (from 44.1% in 1980 to 51% in 2013). Thus, the top 20% of householders (the fifth quintile) received over half (51%) of all the income in the United States in 2013.

Lorenz curve

The data on income inequality can be presented in various ways. For example, you could draw a bar graph that showed the share of income going to each fifth of the income distribution. [link] presents an alternative way of showing inequality data in what is called a Lorenz curve    . The Lorenz curve shows the cumulative share of population on the horizontal axis and the cumulative percentage of total income received on the vertical axis.

The lorenz curve

The graph shows an upward sloping dashed plum line labeled Perfect equality extending from the origin to the point (100, 100%). Beneath the dashed line are two upward sloping curves. The one closest to the dashed line is labeled 1980, and the line further from the dashed line is labeled 2011.
A Lorenz curve graphs the cumulative shares of income received by everyone up to a certain quintile. The income distribution in 1980 was closer to the perfect equality line than the income distribution in 2011—that is, the U.S. income distribution became more unequal over time.

Every Lorenz curve diagram begins with a line sloping up at a 45-degree angle, shown as a dashed line in [link] . The points along this line show what perfect equality of the income distribution looks like. It would mean, for example, that the bottom 20% of the income distribution receives 20% of the total income, the bottom 40% gets 40% of total income, and so on. The other lines reflect actual U.S. data on inequality for 1980 and 2011.

Questions & Answers

what is economic
Stephen Reply
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Dhany Reply
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examine the wealth and welfare definitions of economics
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What do we mean by Asian tigers
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Edward Reply
it is the quantity of commodities that consumers are willing and able to purchase at particular prices and at a given time
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Demand is a various quantity of a commodities that a consumer is willing and able to buy at a particular price within a given period of time. All other things been equal.
State the law of demand
The desire to get something is called demand.
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Random Reply
Why in monopoly does the firm maximize profits when its marginal revenue equals marginal cost
astrid Reply
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Falma Reply
If it is known that the base change of RM45 million, the statutory proposal ratio of 7 per cent, and the public cash holding ratio of 5 per cent, what is the proposed ratio of bank surplus to generate a total deposit of RM 300 million? 
Jeslyne Reply
In a single bank system, a bank can create a deposit when it receives a new deposit in cash. If a depositor puts a cash deposit of RM10,000 into the bank, assume the statutory reserve requirement is 7% and the bank adopts a surplus reserve of 8%. a. Calculate the amount of deposits made at the end o
the part of marginal revenue product curve lies in the _ stage of production is called form demand curve for variable input.
Bashir Reply
The cost associated with the inputs owned by the farmer is termed as
the cost associated with inputs owned by the farmer is termed as ____
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Nwobodo Reply
we study economics to know how to manage our limited resources
we study economics the know how to use our resources and where to put it
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We study economics inorder for us to know the difference of the needs and wants and aslo how to use the limited resources that are available
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Adam smith
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Adam Smith
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Kitojo Reply
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This is the price In which quantity demanded is equal to the quantity supplied.
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is when the price of two item is equal
is the market price at which the demand curve and supply curve of particular commodity interest.
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equilibrium price is when prices are equal
equilibrium price is a point at which demand and supply curve meet
please can you give us the correct answer after the lesson to be compared to our answers
Gloria Reply
in what?
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because it is subjected to human decisions
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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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