Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Unbelievable Facts About the Wealthiest 1 Percent

1% Income

We've heard a lot about the top 1% wealthiest people in America lately, but do you really know all the facts about these people who control so much of our country's money? Some of these facts just might shock you!
Just how rich do you have to be to be considered part of the 1%? Well, the number used to be higher before the economy crashed and people lost money on stocks, but the latest figures put an adjusted gross income at$388,905 or more to be considered part of the top 1% of earners in the United States. The average income for the top 1% is about $717,000.

Accumulated Wealth

The top 1% are saving up a lot of that income as well! The average accumulated wealth for the top 1% wealthiest Americans is about 14 million dollars.

Percentage of Wealt

The top 1% wealthiest people own about 35% of the privately held wealth in the United States. If you consider that instead in terms of financial wealth, which is net worth minus the value of your home, they control a whopping 42.7%. To put that in an even scarier perspective, the bottom 40% of Americans are in control of just .3% of the money in the US.

Wealth Inequality

The wealth inequality in the United States is not the normal around the world, as shown by the colors on the map. In fact, the wealth inequality is so bad in our country, that it is worse here than it is in countries such as India and Russia and much worse than those in Europe and Canada and Australia. We are only equaled by such countries as Mexico, China and Iran.

Increasing Gap

The wealth inequality in America has only been increasing over the recent years. Consider these disturbing facts:
  • Income for the top 1% increased by 176% between 1976 and 2005 while it only increased by 6% for the bottom 20 percent.
  • Between the years of 1949 and 1979 the top 1% took home 10% of the nation's income. By 2007 they were taking in 23.5% of the income

Stock Ownership

It shouldn't be too shocking to learn that the top 1% own a full 50% of America's stocks, bonds and mutual funds. It might be shocking, however, to learn that the bottom 50% only owns .5% of them!

1% Jobs

So what exactly do the top 1% do to earn their money? Well, about a third of them are executives, managers and supervisors, so basically, your upper level bosses. The rest of them are mostly in finance, medicine, law, engineering, computers or sales.

Coastal Dwellers

If you want to be rich, it looks like you'd be better off moving to the beach! Most of the 1% tend to live on the coasts of the United States, rather than the inland areas. A huge concentration of them are in the northeastern part of the US.


By and large the top 1% is dominated by Republicans. In fact, polling shows that 57 percent of the top 1% leans toward the Republican way of thinking, whereas only 36 percent consider themselves Democrats. In the other 99%, this is much more even with the Democrats winning 47-44.

1% and Debt

While most of the rest of the country is saddled by mounds of debt, the top 1% doesn't have that problem. Even though they control so much of our wealth, they only have 5% of our debt.

The Top .1%

If you are thinking that $388,000 a year isn't really that much to be considered the wealthiest of the wealthy, and you're wondering where the really rich peopole are, well, they are in the top .1%. Those people are earning an average of about $7.4 million dollars a year and control 12% of the nation's wealth.

Education Divide

Though there is surely more to the equation, there is one definite difference you can point at between the top 1% and the rest of us. They are much more likely to be well educated. 72% of the top 1% have a college degree compared to 31% of the bottom 99%. Also, almost 50% of them have a post grad degree compared to 16% of the rest of us.


A huge part of the problem of the growing inequality of wealth in our country is the grossly inflated salaries of CEOs. The average CEO pay for the companies listed in the S&P 500 is a staggaring $11.4 million. That is 343 times the median pay of American workers. This is much greater than CEO pay around the world. For instance, in Europe, the CEO pay is only about 25 times that of the workers, which seems downright reasonable by comparison!

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