This Chart Sums Up the Frustrating Truth About Inequality in America

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Occupy Wall Street demonstrators march near Zuccotti Park on March 17, 2012 in New York. AP Photo/John Minchillo
Occupy Wall Street demonstrators march near Zuccotti Park on March 17, 2012 in New York. AP Photo/John Minchillo

It’s been more than six years since the Occupy Wall Street movement flooded Zuccotti Park in New York City to protest financial inequality in the U.S.

However, as the country continues to recover from the Great Recession, inequality continues to climb, according to the latest Federal Reserve survey of consumer finances. The survey of 6,500 families is conducted every three years and includes responses to a wide variety of questions about credit, borrowing and banking.

And it’s not just about the amount of money one group or another makes. It’s about overall financial standing.

“Pretty clearly you’re seeing a pulling apart in wealth and net worth in 2013 and 2016,” said Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute.

And it’s across the board: The wealth gap between rich and poor, black and white, and even homeowners and renters ticked up in the three years since the last survey.

Despite the growth in the median net worth of minority groups in the three years — 29% growth for black families and 46% growth for Hispanic families — whites have accumulated so much wealth that even though their net worth grew by just 17%, the gap still widened.

And they’re the only ones who have climbed out of the hole of the Great Recession.

“Whites are the only group that actually have exceeded their 2007 level,” Gould said.

Here’s a visual of the growing wealth gap in the U.S. The bottom line is we can do a lot better.

Inequality Increase in the United States: a Map of the Wealth Gap

Kristy Gaunt – The Penny Hoarder

Alex Mahadevan is a data journalist and Kristy Gaunt is an illustrative designer at The Penny Hoarder.

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