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America’s Inequality Problem Just Improved for the First Time in a Generation

The collective wealth of the bottom 50% of households has nearly doubled in two years. Can the fragile gains continue?

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Illustration: Alejandra Fernandez for Bloomberg Businessweek

So far, 2022 is on quite a roll: war, inflation, market selloffs, recession worries, virus lockdowns in China, and record-breaking consumer pessimism in the US, plus a new book by inequality expert Thomas Piketty spotlighting the unfairness of it all.

Amid all the gloom, the most unequal of the world’s leading economies has gotten less so. The poorest half of Americans—the much-discussed but largely powerless US working class—are in the strongest financial position in a generation.