Richer than God: 1% of Americans "earn" 24% of national income and own 34% of total wealth

A long New York Times article titled “Rise of the Super-Rich Hits a Sobering Wall,” concludes with these astonishing statistics:

In 2007, the top one ten-thousandth of households took home 6 percent of the nation’s income, up from 0.9 percent in 1977. It was the highest such level since at least 1913, the first year for which the I.R.S. has data.

The top 1 percent of earners took home 23.5 percent of income, up from 9 percent three decades earlier. offers an interesting visual analogy for understanding the U.S. income distribution.

And, as lopsided as income is in America, wealth is far more lopsided! The top 5% of Americans own 59% of everything. The top 20% own 85% of everything. (Obviously, the bottom 80% of Americans own only 15%!) For the depressing details, please see this academic article or these charts.

Posted by James on Saturday, August 22, 2009