Shares of household income of quintiles in the United States from 1970 to 2016

Loading statistic...
Lowest quintileSecond quintileThird quintileFourth quintileHighest quintile

© Statista 2017

Download Settings Share
Chart type
Share on Social Media
HTML code to embed chart as PNG (FAQ)
Description Source More information
The statistic shows the shares of household income of quintiles in the United States from 1970 to 2016. About 51.5 percent of the household income of private households in the U.S. are earned by the highest quintile in 2016, which are the upper 20 percent of the workers. In contrast to that, in the same year, only 3.1 percent of the household income are earned by the lowest quintile. This relation between the quintiles illustrates the income inequality in the United States.
Income inequality

Income inequality is a big topic for public discussion in the United States. About 65 percent of U.S. Americans think that the gap between the rich and the poor has gotten larger in the past ten years.
This impression is backed up by U.S. census data showing that the Gini-coefficient for income distribution in the United States has been increasing constantly over the past decades for individuals and households. The Gini coefficient for individual earnings of full-time, year round workers has increased between 1990 and 2015 from 0.36 to 0.41, for example. This indicates an increase in concentration of income. In general the Gini coefficient is calculated by looking at average income rates. A score of zero would reflect perfect income equality and a score of 1 indicates a society where one person would have all the money and all other people have nothing.
Income distribution is also affected by region. District of Columbia was the state with the widest gap between rich and poor people in the United States with a Gini coefficient of 0.54, as of 2015.
In global comparison, South Africa lead the ranking of the 20 countries with the biggest inequality in income distribution in 2015. South Africa had a score of 63.4 points, based on the Gini coefficient. On the other hand, the Gini coefficient stood at 24.1 in Ukraine, indicating that income is widely spread among the Ukrainian population and not concentrated on a few rich individuals or families. Ukraine led the ranking of the 20 countries with the greatest income distribution equality in 2015.
Show more
Release date
September 2017
United States
Survey time period
1970 to 2016

Statista Accounts: Access All Statistics. Starting from $588 / Year

Statistics on "Poverty and Income in the United States"

  • Poverty
The most important statistics
  • Income
The most important statistics
  • Inequality
The most important statistics

Related Studies: Available to Download in PDF or PPTX Format

Poverty and Income in the United States

All Information
in one Presentation

Poverty and Income in the United States

Everything On "Poverty and Income in the United States" in One Document: Edited and Divided into Handy Chapters. Including Detailed References.

Statista for Your Company: The Research and Analysis Tool

  • Product Film
  • Statistics
  • Downloads

Our Premium Statistics - facts for your business

Currently, Statista provides more than 1 million statistics.
93 percent (all Premium content) are exclusively accessible via our professional accounts.

Unlimited access

As a Statista Premium customer, you receive unlimited access to all statistics at all times. Including downloads of data in the most common formats (XLS, PDF & PNG). Create relevant and significant statistics in no time.

You are in good company

Further Content: Statistics, Studies, and Topic Pages

Our Business Solutions: Save Time and Money



per year
Your advantages
  • Full access to all our statistics
  • Download as XLS, PDF & PNG
  • Relevant data: complete source information
All functions of our platform illustrated face-to-face
  • Learn how Statista supports your company
  • Extensive tour across the whole portal
  • Personal guidance by our support team
The knowledge database for your company
  • All functions of the Premium Account
  • Access to dossiers, forecasts and studies
  • Access to our international database
  • Publishing rights and other exclusive functions