Census finds record gap between rich and poor Americans - The income gap between rich and poor Americans grew to the widest amount on record and represents the greatest disparity among Western industrialized nations, according to U.S. Census data. The census finds that the top-earning 20% of Americans (those making $100,000 each year) received 49.4% of all income generated in the U.S., compared with the 3.4% earned by those below the poverty line. That ratio of 14.5-to-1 was an increase from 13.6 in 2008 and nearly double a low of 7.69 in 1968, the Associated Press reports. At the top, the wealthiest 5% of Americans, who earn more than $180,000, added slightly to their annual incomes last year, the data show. Families at the $50,000 median level slipped lower.