Prices for everyday purchases at grocery and drug stores are increasing faster for low-income Americans than their wealthy counterparts, according to new research from Harvard University. Researchers found that retail prices are increasing by more than 2% per year for goods purchased by consumers with incomes below $30,000, but just 1.4% per year for those with incomes above $100,000. Most of the price discrepancy can be attributed to wealthy consumers’ habit of buying premium brands, which tend to have more stable prices over time, according to the study. While apparently small, if that divergence continues it would become hugely important in a relatively short period of time. After 20 years, for example, every dollar in the pocket of a poor consumer would be worth just 88 cents compared to what a wealthier consumer would be able to buy with it at the grocery store, given the differences in inflation and in both consumers' preferences.
Source: Washington Post, 5/20/16, Poor Pay More