Federal Reserve reveals top 10% of US households own 70% of wealth, bottom 50% own only 1%

  • The numbers from 2018 continue a worrisome trend.
  • The report confirms wealth inequality has been increasing over the last 30 years.
  • The top 1% of households alone owned 32% of all US wealth.

The Federal Reserve revealed that in 2018 the top 10% of US households owned 70% of the countries wealth, while the bottom half of households owned only 1%. The data which cover the years 1989 through 2018 reveal a consistent trend of widening wealth inequality.

Additionally, the top 1% of households alone owned 32% of all US wealth, up from 23% in 1989. The data show the bottom half of US household’s wealth had slipped from 4% of total wealth in 1989 to just 1% in 2018.

Batty, Michael, Jesse Bricker, Joseph Briggs, Elizabeth Holmquist, Susan McIntosh, Kevin Moore, Eric Nielsen, Sarah Reber, Molly Shatto, Kamila Sommer, Tom Sweeney, and Alice Henriques Volz (2019). “Introducing the Distributional Financial Accounts of the United States,” Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2019-017. Washington: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2019.017.

The Federal Reserve data seem to indicate that without profound structural shifts in the US economy, the acceleration of the widening of the wealth gap shows no evidence of abating any time soon.

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