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How Has the Top 1% of Earners in the US Changed over Time?

The people who comprise the top 1% of earners in the United States changed dramatically from 2007 to 2009. Of those in the top 1% in 2007, only about 43% remained in that category by 2009. Of these, about 92% remained in the top 10%, and most of the other 8% remained in the top half.

More facts about top earners in the U.S.:

  • There tends to be a lot of turnover among those in the top 1%. The U.S. Treasury estimates that for every five households in the top 1% of earners in any given year, three will drop out of that category within a decade.

  • As of 2005, the top 1% of earners earned as much annually as the bottom 60% put together.

  • The top 1% of earners in the U.S. paid 38% of all federal income taxes paid in 2008. Those in the 50% or lower income categories accounted for only 3% of the federal income taxes paid. The percentage of federal income taxes paid by those in the top 1% has increased more than 16% since 1991.

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