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By Kerry Close
June 16, 2016
Top earners in New York made about 40 times more than everyone else there after the recession.
Top earners in New York made about 40 times more than everyone else there after the recession.
Ricky Thakrar—Getty Images

While millions of American workers still struggle to regain their pre-recession standard of living, none have recovered quite so well as the top 1% earners, a new report has found.

The study, released Thursday from the Economic Policy Institute, found that the top 1% of U.S. citizens, in terms of income, took home 85% of income growth between 2009 and 2013. In 15 states, the top 1% captured all income growth during the same four-year period.

Naturally, that disproportionate income growth has helped bolster their salaries. By 2013, the top 1% of families nationwide made more than 25 times as much as the other 99% of households. In New York, Connecticut and Wyoming, the highest-earning households had average incomes that were 40 times those of everyone else.

That gross income inequality is in part a result of workers in the financial sector profiting from speculation in the markets during the recession. Still, it doesn’t tell the full story. While New York and Connecticut rank as the most unequal states, in terms of ratio of income of the top 1% to that of the rest of the population, that ratio is also higher than the national average in an additional seven states, 54 metro areas and 165 counties.

Additionally, certain metro areas stand out as having higher-than-average income disparities between the ultra-rich and the rest of the population. In the Jackson metro area, spanning Wyoming and Idaho, the top 1% earned an average of 213 times more than everyone else. Jackson was followed by the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk area in Connecticut, where the uber-wealthy earned about 73.7 times more than the bottom 99%, and Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island in Florida, where the super-rich took home 73.2 times more.

In order to be classified in the top 1% nationally, a family needs an annual income of $389,436. The states with the highest minimum salaries to become a member of the 1% are Connecticut, at $659,979; the District of Columbia, at $554,719; and New Jersey, at $547,737.

The report points out that, between 1928 and 1979, the share of income in the hands of the 1% fell in every state except Alaska. To reduce income inequality going forward, it calls for a return to full employment, restoring bargaining power to U.S. workers, and for more proportionate executive compensation.

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The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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