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What is AGI?

When you file your federal taxes, you calculate your adjusted gross income. AGI includes all sources of income, both active and passive, such as:

  • Wages and salaries
  • Business income
  • Interest and dividends
  • Capital gains
  • Rent, royalties, and alimony
  • Pensions, life insurance, and annuity income
  • Inheritances

AGI – or aggregate income, as it is also called – represents income before taxes. I refer to it as working wealth because it is what people earn; it’s their total income, and it represents the strongest indicator of a person’s wealth before taxes.

Again, we took the most recent taxpayer data files available from the IRS, 1995-2010. This 15-year period offers a broad view that favors no single president, administration, congress, or state- or local-level representation. This is income information from the most official source: the IRS. It reflects an expansive view of the American economy and offers a big picture overview rather than a single snapshot of income migration. And when we step back, we can see a clear pattern of movement: money moved from high-tax states to low-tax states.