Today I was looking at a report on income within quintiles, and see that in the bottom, about 50% move up, quite a few to the top. But in the top, many move down. Their real income went down. Median incomes of all taxpayers increased by 24 percent after adjusting for inflation. There's still a lot of mobility in the USA. However, the report was for 2007, and I checked and can't find anything newer from Treasury. I think it's just too painful for the O-admin to see it. Better to whine about a gap than praise mobility.
The key findings of this study include:
• There was considerable income mobility of individuals in the U.S. economy during the 1996 through 2005 period as over half of taxpayers moved to a different income quintile over this period.
• Roughly half of taxpayers who began in the bottom income quintile in 1996 moved up to a higher income group by 2005.
• Among those with the very highest incomes in 1996 – the top 1/100 of 1 percent – only 25 percent remained in this group in 2005. Moreover, the median real income of these taxpayers declined over this period.
• The degree of mobility among income groups is unchanged from the prior decade (1987 through 1996).
• Economic growth resulted in rising incomes for most taxpayers over the period from 1996 to 2005. Median incomes of all taxpayers increased by 24 percent after adjusting for inflation. The real incomes of two-thirds of all taxpayers increased over this period. In addition, the median incomes of those initially in the lower income groups increased more than the median incomes of those initially in the higher income groups.