Income Inequality in America
A Reference Handbook
by Stacey M. Jones and Robert S. Rycroft
January 2023, 398pp, 6 x 9
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6743-9
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6744-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

In the fall of 2021, the United States was home to 745 billionaires holding a combined $5 trillion in wealth—nearly two-thirds more than the $3 trillion held by the bottom 50% of U.S. households.

A one-stop resource for enriching understanding of income inequality in the United States, including chief socioeconomic drivers of inequality and proposals to reduce the widening gap between rich and poor.

Carefully researched and scrupulously nonpartisan, this resource examines the history and current state of income inequality in the United States, with a particular focus on key issues, events, and political/economic philosophies relevant to the enduring divide between rich and poor in America. One of the most valuable aspects of the book is that it surveys the complex history of income inequality in an easy-to-understand fashion that helps readers identify and assess the ways in which income inequality shapes many aspects of modern American society. The book is even-handed in its treatment of the academic and policy debates over the causes, consequences, and appropriate response to today’s growing inequality.

In addition, this resource provides insights into the financial underpinnings of debt and wealth and capitalism and how all of those factors perpetuate themselves. It also examines problems and challenges related to child care, education, transportation, housing, and saving for retirement that hamper so many poor people in their efforts to lift their households out of poverty.


  • Carefully documents historical events and contemporary issues and trends concerning income inequality
  • Discusses perspectives on income inequality from important economists, lawmakers, activists, and reformers from a diverse range of political, cultural, and economic backgrounds
  • Includes tables, figures, and primary documents to increase understanding of income inequality trend lines
  • Provides a multitude of resources for further study of the social, political, and economic dimensions of income inequality in the United States
Stacey M. Jones, PhD, is a senior instructor in the department of economics of the Albers School of Business and Economics at Seattle University. Her primary research interest is the economic history of the United States, with an emphasis on the trajectory of inequality and the transformation of women's economic role. She enjoys teaching several courses each year in statistical methods and is a co-author of Understanding Business Statistics. She holds a doctorate in economics from Stanford University.

Robert S. Rycroft, PhD, is professor of economics at the University of Mary Washington. His primary research interest is in the economics of inequality. He teaches courses in inequality and poverty, public finance, microeconomics, and quantitative methods. He has published several works with ABC-CLIO as author or editor, including The Economics of Inequality, Poverty, and Discrimination in the 21st Century; The American Middle Class: An Economic Encyclopedia of Progress and Poverty; and (with Kimberley L. Kinsley) Inequality in America: Causes and Consequences. He also is the author of The Economics of Inequality, Discrimination, Poverty and Mobility, second edition. He holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Maryland.

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Each volume offers a rich array of resources:
  • A background and history essay that provides essential context and grounding for further study
  • A balanced summary of ongoing controversies and proposed solutions that show numerous paths for further research on pressing, contemporary questions
  • A forum of authoritative perspective essays by experts, offering a broad spectrum of arguments on the issues
  • Carefully selected annotated documents, tables, and graphs that support statistical literacy and investigation of primary sources
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  • Annotated lists of print, web, and multimedia resources that power the next steps for in-depth research
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  • A glossary of key terms
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