The Demography of Inequality: Income, Wealth and Consumption, 1989-2016

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionFisher, Jonathan, David S. Johnson, Timothy S. Smeeding, and Jeffrey Thompson. 2018. "The Demography of Inequality: Income, Wealth and Consumption, 1989-2016." PSC Research Report No. 18-890. 7 2018.

Inequality differentially affects demographic groups, and the socioeconomic measure we use matters quite a lot when understanding how inequality differentially affects demographic groups. We examine the demography of inequality using age, race, education, and family type for children, and we show how the demography of inequality depends on the resource measure used: income, consumption, or wealth. Children and the elderly are worse off than non-elderly adults in income terms, but only children and their parents are increasingly and disproportionately found in the lower reaches of the wealth and consumption distributions. For some groups, all lenses show the same picture, as children in single parent households, blacks, and those with less than a high school education are worse off in terms of all resource measures - income, wealth or consumption.

Country of focus: United States of America.

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