But from 2005 to 2014, the subsequent period encapsulating the Great Recession and so-called recovery, just a third of wage earners saw their incomes rise. The vast majority of earners – around 65 to 70 percent – saw their paychecks decline or stagnate. In the United States, the proportion with stagnant wages was a full 81 percent.
2016 Election issues: The economy
(MAIN) 2016 Issues: Economy
(MAIN) 2016 Issues: Economy
A job seeker fills out paperwork while waiting to meet with representatives during a weekly job fair event in Dallas, Texas, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015. Filings for U.S. unemployment benefits rose more than forecast to an eight-week high, representing a pause in a trend of more muted firings. Photographer: Laura Buckman/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Job seekers wait in line to meet with representatives during a weekly job fair event in Dallas, Texas, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015. Filings for U.S. unemployment benefits rose more than forecast to an eight-week high, representing a pause in a trend of more muted firings. Photographer: Laura Buckman/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 04: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on September 4, 2015 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average finished the day down over 250 points, furthering losses for the week. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
The silhouette of a Federal Reserve police officer is seen walking past the Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015. While economists are almost equally divided on whether Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen will raise U.S. interest rates this week, the bond market suggests policy makers will wait. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A Federal Reserve police officer walks past the Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015. Bill Gross said the Federal Reserve has waited so long to raise interest rates that any move now may be labeled 'too little too late' as market turmoil restricts the room for policy makers to act. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08: A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during the afternoon of September 8, 2015 in New York City. The Dow jumped nearly 400 points by the time of the closing bell. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 24: A man pauses by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on August 24, 2015 in New York City. As the global economy continues to react from events in China, markets dropped significantly around the world on Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average briefly dropped over 1000 points in morning trading and closed down 588 points. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
EXETER, NH - SEPTEMBER 10: Former Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush holds a tax policy event at R.E Prescott on September 10, 2015 in Exeter, New Hampshire. Here an attendee at the event hold's a JEB sign. (Photos by Charles Ommanney/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 29: Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is flanked by more than 74,000 pieces of paper representing the size of the U.S. tax code as he speaks during a campaign stop at an Embassy Suites hotel on June 29, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Paul made stops in four cities in Nevada on Monday as he campaigns for the battleground state against 12 other Republican candidates in the 2016 presidential race. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 25: Senate Budget ranking member Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., holds a news conference to introduce legislation 'to make millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share of estate taxes and close loopholes that have allowed billionaires to avoid billions in taxes' on Thursday, June 25, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Registered nurses and community activists hold a vigil on April 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, part of a nationwide day of action, calling for a Robin Hood tax on Wall Street which they claim will help raise hundreds of billions of dollars to help social and economic justice. AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 4: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks next to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) during a news conference to introduce their proposal for an overhaul of the tax code, March 4, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. One part of the plan proposes to reduce seven tax brackets for income tax to two: 15 percent and 35 percent. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
An employee arranges copies of U.S. President Barack Obama's Fiscal Year 2016 Budget on display at the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015. Obama sent Congress a $4 trillion budget that would raise taxes on corporations and the nationÃs top earners, spend more on infrastructure and housing, and stabilize, but not eliminate, the annual budget deficit. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
DORAL, FL - DECEMBER 10: Glenn Rehn (C) and Sandy Lleo (R) along with other protesters rally together outside the office of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on December 10, 2012 in Doral, Florida. The protesters are hoping that Senators like Rubio will not cut medicare/social security benefits and will agree to raise taxes on the top 2% of earners in the country. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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The new report, entitled "Poorer Than Their Parents? Flat Or Falling Incomes In Advanced Economies," comes from the McKinsey Global Institute. As the title suggests, the study examined the prospects for over 800 million workers in the 25 wealthiest countries and found that the rising generation is at serious risk of ending up poorer than their parents.
Since World War II, each generation has had the reasonable expectation of doing better than their parents. According to the report, this is no longer a likely prospect. With the rise of automated workplaces and other labor market shifts, a full 30 to 40 percent of workers may never see their income grow again – even if the economy grows significantly.
Another report, from the Center for American Progress, shows this trend playing out in the United States. The liberal think tank found earlier this year that 30-year-olds today make less money than 30-year-olds made 10 years ago. In fact, today's 30-year-olds make about the same income as people their age did in 1984, "despite the facts that they are 50 percent more likely to have finished college and that they work in an economy that is 70 percent more productive."
In other words, their wages have flat-lined.
Meanwhile, wealth has concentrated at an unprecedented rate at the tippity-top of the economy. The combined wealth of the Forbes 400, a whopping $2.3 trillion, totals the combined wealth of more than 60 percent of the rest of the country – nearly 200 million people. Another just-released study, this one from veteran inequality economist Emanuel Saez, shows income for the top 1 percent has grown at nearly twice the rate as the bottom 99 percent since 1998.
The report from McKinsey recognizes that this trend is bad news both for the economy and for the rise of nativist politics. In their words, "those who were not advancing and not hopeful about the future were more likely than those who were advancing to support nationalist political parties."
Without significant action to reverse the growing divide, it's clear that these trends will continue to play out. That's bad news for the rising generation set to inherit the deeply unequal economic heritage of their parents.