Rising Top Income Shares

Over at Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, Stephen Gordon has posted Michael Veall’s data, updating his past work on the rising  income share of top income recipients (expressed as a share of market income declared by adults for tax purposes, and excluding capital gains.) Veall presented his main findings at the CEA meetings.  The data were extracted by Statscan from tax data.

http://worthwhile.typepad.com/worthwhile_canadian_initi/2010/05/an-update-on-the-concentration-of-income-in-canada.html

The data are fascinating to trawl through. The main conclusion here is that the share of the top 1% of individual tax filers has continued to increase since 2002 – the last year for which we had data. Their share has jumped from 7.9% in 1982 – when the upward trend began – to 13.8% in 2007. As of 2007, it took an income of at least $169,231 to get into the top 1%, but incomes in that percentile averaged $403,500 since there is a high level of inequality at the very top of the income spectrum.  Average inflation adjusted income of the top 1% has doubled since 1982. The detailed data show that a lot of the action is in even smaller top groups than the top 1%.

The posted data show more or less the same trend when attention is turned to family market income, and income defined to include capital gains. The data also show that claims of a high turnover year to year in the ranks of the top 1% are not justified.

  The Top 1%    
       
Year Average $ Lower Limit Share
1982 198,200 116,300 7.91
1983 186,700 112,200 7.75
1984 193,000 112,400 7.9
1985 196,300 113,900 7.94
1986 195,600 114,100 8.1
1987 202,000 114,600 8.29
1988 234,600 122,300 9.24
1989 253,800 125,600 9.86
1990 235,300 122,900 9.4
1991 223,700 119,200 9.43
1992 218,200 117,400 9.36
1993 218,400 116,300 9.65
1994 221,100 118,100 9.68
1995 232,900 121,900 10.05
1996 246,800 124,300 10.57
1997 270,900 129,200 11.34
1998 291,500 134,800 11.85
1999 305,300 138,700 12.09
2000 334,700 144,900 12.84
2001 338,400 149,000 12.76
2002 325,700 147,400 12.41
2003 323,500 146,800 12.34
2004 341,300 151,500 12.71
2005 362,600 155,800 13.15
2006 391,700 163,600 13.77
2007 403,500 169,321 13.78

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