The United States: A Very Uneven Recovery

Richest get richer, but 93% of households below lag behind.

May 13, 2013

Credit: David Pino Photography/Shutterstock

1. From 2009-11, during the economic recovery, the upper 7% of U.S. households saw their average net worth increase 28%, while the wealth of the other 93% declined.

2. The average net worth of the nation’s eight million most-affluent households rose by almost 20% — from an estimated $2.7 million to $3.2 million.

3. For the 111 million U.S. households that comprise the bottom 93%, their average net worth fell 4% — from $140,000 to an estimated $134,000.

4. As a result, the wealth gap separating the top 7% from everyone else in the United States increased from a ratio of 18-to-1 to 24-to-1 between 2009 and 2011.

5. Overall, the most affluent 7% of U.S. households owned 63% of the nation’s household wealth in 2011 — up from 56% in 2009.

6. The average amount of wealth held by Americans increased 14% between 2009 and 2011, rising from $298,000 to $339,000 in inflation-adjusted dollars.

7. However, only the 13% of families with a net worth of $500,000 or more saw their wealth grow.

8. Every other wealth group saw their net worth decline by between 2% and 6%. That underscores how misleading it can be to look at averages.

From Richest are getting richer, study shows. Lower 93% of Americans lag behind as wealth gap widens by Michael A. Fletcher (Washington Post)

 

 

Takeaways

During the first two years of the economic recovery, the upper 7% of U.S. households saw their average net worth increase 28%