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Fed: Median incomes drop for all groups but the wealthiest in past 3 years

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WASHINGTON - The richest 10 per cent of Americans were the only group whose median incomes rose in the past three years, the Federal Reserve said Thursday in a report on consumer finances.

The Fed said that incomes declined for every other group from 2010 to 2013, widening the gap between the richest Americans and everyone else.

The report found that median incomes, adjusted for inflation, for the top 10 per cent rose 2 per cent, to $223,200 from $217,900. Median income fell 4 per cent for the bottom 20 per cent, to $15,200 from $15,800.

For the middle 20 per cent, incomes dropped 6 per cent, to $48,700 from $51,800.

The information, from the Fed's latest "Survey of Consumer Finances," echoed findings of other studies of the impact of the Great Recession on American households. The very wealthy have benefited the most from gains in the stock market and housing values after the recession. But poor and middle-income people, who depend more on wages, have been hurt by sluggish growth in pay even after the downturn officially ended in June 2009.

The Fed survey found that the median income for all families stood at $46,700 in 2013, down 5 per cent from 2010. The median is the point where half make more and half make less. But the average income for all families rose 4 per cent to $87,200. The average is higher than the median because of the large incomes of the wealthiest Americans.

Average incomes declined for the poorest families, continuing a trend that had been observed in the Fed's 2007 and 2010 surveys.

The Fed does the survey every three years.

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