The 1% are really raking it in

May 1, 2014: 11:41 AM ET
chart income top 1 percent
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

Shocker: The rich are doing much better than everyone else.

From 1981 to 2012, the share of income that the top 1% of Americans take in has more than doubled, according to a new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The rich now earn about 20% of all pre-tax income in the United States, up from 8% in 1981.

The report called the increase "spectacular," and noted that the share of income going to the super rich -- the top 0.1% of U.S. earners -- has more than quadrupled over the 30 years since 1980.

And while Americans have become almost numb to striking numbers that illustrate income inequality, it's not just an American issue. The richest have significantly increased their share of income over the last three decades across many OECD countries.

The wealthiest 1%-ers in the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland and Canada also enjoyed hefty increases in their share of total income, the report showed.

Related: Middle class & living paycheck to paycheck

Even in places thought to have more economic equality, like Finland, Sweden and Norway, the share of income going to the richest 1% skyrocketed by roughly 70% from 1980 to the late 2000s.

The trend slowed during the recent financial crisis, but not for long. The wealthy are more sensitive to economic swings, and real incomes actually fell for the rich during the recession. But they also began recovering quickly after it ended.

Blueprint for a more progressive tax code

The report attributes the rise to a few factors, including globalization, technological advancement, huge cuts in top tax rates and changes in the way companies pay their top executives.

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