Income inequality has been increasing in the United States since the 1970s. An economic recession in the mid-1970s, changing economic policies that favor free-trade and deregulation, the decline of domestic manufacturing plants, the decline of union membership and stagnated wages have contributed to the growing income inequality in the United States.
The period that marks the end of World War II to the recession of the 1970s is marked by its stable wage increases across the population. During these years, Americans in every economic percentile saw their wages almost double. The 1970s marked a considerable turn in the way that wealth was distributed across the population. Changing geographical, industrial and demographical landscapes contributed to lower wages, reduction in employment and forced concessions.
Throughout the previous 25 years, the top 20 percent of wealthiest individuals in the United States have amassed 88.9 percent of all of the wealth in the United States. Even more lop-sided, the top 1 percent owns 35.4 percent of all the country's wealth. Despite the alarming statistics and growing poverty, especially among young people, a Pew Research Center Poll found that 47 percent of Americans are unconcerned about the wage gap. The United States has not seen this stark of income inequality since the 1920s.