Trend Toward More Equal Distribution of Income

by Lee Soltow



There is ample evidence that the distribution of income among low, moderate and high income groups in the U.S. has become more equal today than it was 20 or 30 years ago. For example, from 1929 to 1956, the average earnings of production workers tripled while those of engineers doubled. Engineers with ten years experience made three times as much as beginning engineers in 1929 and two times as much in 1956. From 1939 to 1956, the percentage salary increase of government employees in the lowest scheduled grade was three times that in the highest grade. A variety of certain very broad trends, operating largely outside corporate influence, have tended to bring about income compression and, moreover, will continue to exert an influence during the next five to ten years. The purpose of this article is to describe some changes in the distributions of people in terms of education, mobility, and homogeneity of certain large groups of people, and certain government, union, and corporate practices which have had a narrowing effect on the distribution of income.

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