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#1
Old 03-10-2008, 04:52 PM
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What does "the top 1%" of Americans mean?

(Sorry about the "Americans" when referring only to US citizens/residents. I couldn't think of a short term for US citizens/residents.)

Ahem.

Anyway, some of us were just talking at lunch about the oft-quoted statistics about the "top 1%" of Americans, typically in regards to earnings or net worth. Then we realized we didn't have a clue where those thresholds were.

So, does anyone know ... (ok, let's make this a 6 part question ) what is the boundary / threshold putting someone in the top 10%, the top 1% and the top 1/10th% based on earnings, and then based on net worth?

Thanks,
J.
#2
Old 03-10-2008, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jharvey963
(Sorry about the "Americans" when referring only to US citizens/residents. I couldn't think of a short term for US citizens/residents.)
The proper short term is "Americans."

Quote:
Anyway, some of us were just talking at lunch about the oft-quoted statistics about the "top 1%" of Americans, typically in regards to earnings or net worth. Then we realized we didn't have a clue where those thresholds were.

So, does anyone know ... (ok, let's make this a 6 part question ) what is the boundary / threshold putting someone in the top 10%, the top 1% and the top 1/10th% based on earnings, and then based on net worth?
According to these handy charts, the 90th percentile in income is $170,000 per year, and the 90th percentile in net worth is $833,000. I can't find anything that breaks down the numbers between 90 and 99% with a cursory Google search. Perhaps when I get home from work I can take a look at the Census Bureau website; they probably know.
#3
Old 03-10-2008, 05:19 PM
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In 2004, the average income of the top 1 percent of Americans was just shy of $900,000.

http://cbpp.org/1-23-07inc.htm
#4
Old 03-10-2008, 06:56 PM
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Location: Silicon Valley, Cal., USA
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When I was taking a Political Science course in my college years (1989 in this case), the professor -- who had a left-leaning political bent -- said that "7% of the population owns 63% of the wealth."

She was probably right.

But since that time, the numbers seem to have become inflated through anecdotal repetition. Just last week, a co-worker "informed" me that 1% of the population owns 90% of the wealth!

At this rate, by 2010 people will be saying that 10 people in the world own 99% of the wealth, and their listeners will be swallowing that story regardless of the absuridy of the numbers.
#5
Old 03-10-2008, 08:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tracer
When I was taking a Political Science course in my college years (1989 in this case), the professor -- who had a left-leaning political bent -- said that "7% of the population owns 63% of the wealth."

She was probably right.
If so, the gap has widened since then. According to United Nations statistics, the richest 10% of adults accounted for 85% of the world's total wealth.
#6
Old 03-10-2008, 09:08 PM
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In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands. As of 2001, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 33.4% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 51%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 84%, leaving only 16% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers).
from here.
#7
Old 03-11-2008, 10:02 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by friedo
According to these handy charts, the 90th percentile in income is $170,000 per year, and the 90th percentile in net worth is $833,000.
The tortured analogy they use to present the data is a but weird, but since the data are bracketed into 10-percentile blocks and they present of the median of those blocks, I think $170,000 is the 95th percentile of income and $833,000 the 95th percentile of net worth.
#8
Old 03-11-2008, 06:55 PM
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Posts: 269
For top X% in adjusted gross incomes, the figures are here:

http://irs.gov/taxstats/indtaxst...133521,00.html
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