Here's the story of income inequality in America over the past 40 years.
Hover over each line to identify household income and click through to see the percentage growth over the last 40 years.
The graph reveals a striking pattern. After adjusting for inflation, income was basically flat for households in the bottom half of the economic ladder. Right around the middle, income starts to pick up — and the higher you go up the income ladder, the more income growth you see.
Income grew 9 percent for households at the 60th percentile, 22 percent for those at the 80th percentile and 36 percent for those at the 95th percentile. Gains were even larger for those at the very top, but the Census data we're using in this graph makes it hard to track incomes for the top 1 percent.
Here's how income growth shakes out over the last 20 years by the education and age of the head of household.
Labor economists call this "the hollowing out of the middle." Globalization and technological change have made middle-skill, middle-income jobs harder to find. Low skill, low paying jobs have stuck around. And there are high paying jobs for those at the top, with the skills to put technology to profitable use.
One thing to note: that bump in 2000 for incomes among bachelor's degree holders does not reflect reality — it's the result of a temporary change in the way the census reported income for those at the top.
Does age make much of a difference in income inequality? Yes, especially for households headed by people between 45 and 65. In those groups, income for the middle class and the poor actually fell in the past 20 years.