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Rich getting richer: Gap between 1% and 99% deepens

Rich getting richer: Gap between 1% and 99% deepens
Juicy profits in the stock market have helped the wealthiest Americans become even wealthier. (Richard Drew / Associated Press)

The wealthy are getting even wealthier – in part because they're so wealthy to start with.

That's the upshot of new research, which shows that the richest 1% of Americans derive huge profits from capital gains, stock dividends and other types of business- or investment-related gains.

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In other words, rich people are making a lot of money on their money.

Anyone, of course, can benefit from stock-related gains. But the rich have benefited a lot more, in part because they have higher incomes that enable them to invest more.

The divergence is likely to exacerbate income inequality in coming years, according to the analysis by the Economic Policy Institute.

The analysis found that the share of "income from wealth" going to the top 1% surged to 54% in 2010 from 33.5% in 1979. It was based on data from the Congressional Budget Office.

In 1979, the bottom 90% had 36.2%, according to the Economic Policy Institute. The 9% in between (the top 2% to 10%) claimed 30.3%.

By 2010, the share derived by the bottom 90% had fallen to 22.9%, while the middle group slid to 23.0%.

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Follow Walter Hamilton on Twitter @LATwalter

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