Measuring Wealth by Assets, Not Income

Interesting discussion at Economix looking at the top economic strata:.

Instead of using income (as the Census does) to measure wealth, what if we looked at Assets instead (as the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances does)?. No surprise, the wealth gap as measured by net worth is much more extreme than that measured by income.

– Estimates for top 1% is a household income of about ~$380,000; ~7.5 times median household income.

-Net worth, top 1% = $8.4 million — 69 times median household’s net worth of $121,000.

-Wealthiest 1% received 16% percent of income — 8% of salaries and wages, but 36% self-employment income.

-1% controls a third of the nation’s financial assets (equities, private investments), and 28% of nonfinancial assets (RE, cars, jewelry, etc.).

-About 90% of the 1 percenters describe themselves as being in excellent or good health, vs 75% for the rest opf the country.

-Nearly half of the 1 percenters own two or more pieces of real estate vs just 5% for the rest of population.-1 in 5 of the wealthiest Americans say they have a boat, plane or helicopter, compared with 1 in 22 in other households.

-75% of wealthy spent less than they earned last year, vs 44% of everybody else.

Fascinating stuff . . .


Measuring the Top 1% by Wealth, Not Income
New York Times, January 17, 2012

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