This comes as no surprise to those who read BlueNC, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics is delivering evidence that income inequality is even more pronounced in economic recovery data.
While average income has returned to prerecession levels, income gains have been distributed unevenly across income quintiles. (Income quintiles are five equally sized groups of households that have been divided from lowest to highest according to their annual income.) Between 2008 and 2012, the highest income quintile accounted for more than 80 percent of the total increase in household income in the United States. The fourth income quintile also experienced a significant gain between 2008 and 2012, while the lowest, second, and third income quintiles experienced essentially no change in income.
High income individuals and families are spending more on healthcare, education, and transportation. Fortunately, people in these income brackets can afford to buy new cars and pay college tuition.
Low income individuals and families did increase spending on healthcare, but an increase in similar categories between high and income earners isn't always for the same reason. Low income earners have seen an overall decline in spending and without a recovery in earning power, there has been no increase in spending.
The decline in spending was due to lower expenditures on apparel—specifically women’s apparel—and the main increase in spending was because of higher cash contributions. Cash contributions include money given to people or organizations outside the household, such as alimony payments or contributions to charitable organizations.
Go dig into the data. I'm sure there's more there to discover and discuss.