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posted on 13 January 2018

How Wealthy Are Americans?

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Since the financial wipeout of the Great Recession, Americans have slowly regained wealth on their houses and other assets.


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The average per capita wealth in the USA is currently nearly $300,000.

And interestingly enough, until recently there was good correlation between REAL (inflation adjusted) net worth growth (blue line in graph below) and REAL disposable personal income (red line in graph below).

The net worth works out to to an average of roughly $800,000 per household according the latest data. But we all know that the average number is skewed by the 0.1 %. According to CBS News:

Since the Great Recession, the richest global citizens have benefited far more from the worldwide increase in wealth than their poorer countrymen, according to a new report from investment bank Credit Suisse. The result? The top 1 percent of global citizens own 50.1 percent of all household wealth, up from 45.5 percent in 2000, the study found.

And this week Jeff Bezos' net worth reached $105 billion - and surpassed Bill Gates $94 billion net worth reached in 1999.

One begins to see this disparity when net worth is compared against MEDIAN household income [see graph below]. The graph above indexed net worth against total disposable income which is also skewed towards the 0.1%.

It is obvious that the median net worth is much lower than the average net worth. From Wallet Hacks:

Net Worth with and without Home Equity

Age of HouseholderMedian Net WorthMedian NW excl. Equity
Under 35:$6,900$4,138
35 - 44$45,740$18,197
45 - 54:$100,404$38,626
55 - 64:$164,498$66,547
65 - 69:$193,833$66,168
70 - 74:$225,390$68,716
65+:$202,950$57,800
75+:$197,758$46,936

Here it is in chart form with quintiles:

Median Net Worth by Quintiles by Age of Householder

It is a problem when wealth becomes concentrated in the hands of the few:

  • news gathering and dissemination ends up in the hands of a few;
  • the political candidates are funded for election by the few;
  • lobbyists (and it is lobbyists who seem to write the majority of legislation) end up working for the the vested interests of the few.

Is there any way to balance wealth across the population? Let's hear some ideas - I'm all ears.

Other Economic News this Week:

The Econintersect Economic Index for January 2018 Economic Index improved and remains in territory associated with stronger economic growth.

Bankruptcies this Week from bankruptcydata.com: none

Weekly Economic Release Scorecard:

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