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- - What does "the top 1%" of Americans mean? (https://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/showthread.php?t=459236)

jharvey963 03-10-2008 03:52 PM

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 :D ) 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.

friedo 03-10-2008 04:00 PM

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 :D ) 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.

Ravenman 03-10-2008 04:19 PM

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

tracer 03-10-2008 05:56 PM

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.

Fear Itself 03-10-2008 07:26 PM

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.

DanBlather 03-10-2008 08:08 PM

Quote:

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.

iwakura43 03-11-2008 09:02 AM

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.

aptronym 03-11-2008 05:55 PM

For top X% in adjusted gross incomes, the figures are here:

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


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