In late 2011, Occupy Wall Street protests spread like wildfire in cities across the country, forcing a focus on America’s gaping income gaps.

The issue took center stage for some time, grabbing headlines and, briefly at least, the attention of elected officials. But when the protest camps were dismantled and the media crews packed up, the issue got largely sidelined.

In the end not much changed, and today the income divide remains as wide as it was the day the protests began. In fact, a recent Pew Research report found that the middle class is losing ground: “after more than four decades of serving as the nation’s economic majority, the U.S. middle class is now matched in size by those in the economic tiers above and below it.”

This growing inequality between society’s rich and poor is an issue that some candidates have already begun to address in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Cartoon journalist Andy Warner illustrates how deep America’s economic divide is. (

Click images below to view as a slideshow or download full graphic here.


SelfPortraitAndy Warner’s comic journalism has been published by Symbolia, Slate,, American Public Media, Campus Progress and more. You can see more of his work at: and

An Illustrated Guide to Income Inequality in America 26 May,2016Andy Warner

  • fid

    Typo in one graph. “1972” repeated twice on x axis.

  • reverenddude

    why add arrows to finite sets? you dont know what is going to happen in the future, you can make an educated guess but thats it.

  • Dan

    So why doesn’t KQED show Robert Riech’s documentary “Inequality for All”? Instead we get a lot of fluff about the history of Johnny Carson and such. KQED show some grit.

  • John Diep

    #DoNowKQED/ I believe income inequality is normal in America because the level of job competition is so high that it inevitable for people to have different salaries. Despite all the cons this just gives people incentives to work harder in life to become more finically stable and successful.


    #DoNowKQED/ Income inequality will lead to future troubles for our country, as Americans make less money compared to the hours they work. The tensions between the top 1% and 90% will only get worse as the years pass because the income gap between them is widening.

  • Lindsay Tong

    As Obama said, income inequality is the defining issue of our time. An issue such as this should be addressed and shouldn’t even be here in the first place. Between the top 1% and 90% the income inequality should be nonexistent. People who are employed are working the same just as anybody else. I feel as though this problem has been leading on for too long, that closing this gap will be very difficult especially in such a competitive economy these days.

  • Shirley Mei

    The Great Depression and WWII boosted wages for workers because of manufacturing. According to the statistics, ~67% of the bottom 90% were sharing the nation’s income in 1944. In 2012, it was around ~50%. Technology and manufacturing replaced many jobs while making labor less strenuous, but I think the rise in technology created a greater separation in the social status of people.

  • Rosa Chea

    According to Obama, he said that the income inequality is the defining challenge of our time. The growing gap between the different classes of income are becoming a disadvantage for most Americans. I think that Obama is spot on because there’s a big difference in low income families, middle class and the largest gap between the rich.

  • Don Hall bearcreekresearch

    Income inequality equates to representation inequality, educational opportunity and location inequality, health and transportation rank highly among several other factors such as government and public employment (I don’t work much and you can’t do much about it) tranches … I personally notice Elections (In Kentucky especially) seem to offer puppets, hollow, out of touch or lobby loving candidates (see senate race -alison vs. mcconnell)

  • An extremely complicated topic but from the viewpoint of a working-poor blue-collar dreg of society I view the USA as being in a state of class warfare with the masses of common folks losing the war… badly.

    How can individuals compete against the unholy union between government at all levels and the corporate system?


Andy Warner

SelfPortraitAndy Warner’s comic journalism has been published by Symbolia, Slate,, American Public Media, Campus Progress and more. You can see more of his work at:

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