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Working Paper Number SEHSD-WP2016-24
Brian Glassman
Component ID: #ti1754545392

Introduction

Many previous studies have found that income inequality has increased over the last half century in the United States.  However, I examine this issue differently than studies have previously.  First, I use the 2005 to 2015 American Community Surveys (ACS) to calculate equivalence and cost of living adjusted household income.  While the ACS has been used to measure income inequality, it is less often used to measure changes in income inequality over time.  Second, I look at how changes in income inequality vary by income inequality metric.  I use nine income inequality metrics along with income share quintiles.  Third, I look at how changes in income inequality vary by type of household income.  I separate pre-tax, pre-transfer household income and after-tax, after-transfer household income.  Fourth, I look at how income inequality changes vary by year.  Rather than just talk about the overall increase in income inequality, I look at how year to year changes in income inequality may be positive, negative, or not statistically significant.  Finally, I look at how income inequality changes by Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).  While the trend in the United States is for income inequality to be increasing, this trend is not universal across MSAs.

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