Income inequality refers to the degree to which income is unevenly distributed among a population. Income is money or a money equivalent received through the selling of capital, including land, or labor. In the United States, income inequality has been growing steadily since the 1970s. There is no one distinct cause for income inequality or its growth. Rather, there are many contributing factors, including the slow growth of wages for middle- and lower-income households, globalization, institutional policies, and increased demand for a highly skilled workforce.
At A Glance
Income inequality refers to the degree to which income is unevenly distributed among a population, while wealth inequality refers to the unequal distribution of wealth across members of a society.
Income inequality in the United States has been increasing for several decades.
- There is no single reason for income inequality. Slow wage growth is a strong factor, as are the effects of globalization, an increase in technology in the workforce, and various institutional policies.
- Possible policies to combat inequality focus on countering identified factors contributing to the rise of the problem.