The Inequality Imperative | Thrive Global

The 2016 election surfaced profound divides in American society. These divides manifested along a number of fault lines — particularly around race, ethnicity and gender. At core, however, this election hinged on national divides stemming from deep frustration, even despair, over the growing socioeconomic inequality in the United States, and its tangible consequences.

Our social divides have been increasing over the past two decades. In Trends in Family Wealth, 1989 to 2013, the US Congressional Budget Office found the aggregate family wealth in this country to be $67 trillion in 2013, more than double the amount of family wealth in 1989. This increase, however, has been shared far from equally. In 2013, 76 percent of all family wealth was held by families in the top 10 percent of the wealth distribution. Intergenerational transmission of this wealth has created large, and persistent, wealth disparities between groups. This has led to the other side of wealth in America — poverty.

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