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America’s Income Gap Is Really an Education Gap

1 min readBy: Scott Hodge, Andrew Lundeen

Perhaps nothing better illustrates the causes of income inequality in America today than the vast differences in educational attainment between high-income households and low-income households. Nearly 70 percent of Americans at the bottom end of the income scale have a high school degree or less, while just 10 percent have a college degree or more. At about $62,000 of income, a roughly equal percentage of workers have a high school degree (35 percent) as have a college degree (34 percent). However, at the top end of the income scale, nearly 80 percent of high-income households have a bachelor’s degree or higher, while less than 10 percent have only a high school diploma. Raising taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. es on high-income taxpayers will not correct this education-based income disparity.

For more charts like the one below, see the second edition of our chart book, Putting a Face on America's Tax Returns.