Over the past decade, income and wealth inequality have steadily worsened throughout the United States – the rich get richer and the rest… stay the same, according to a new report.
Economists Thomas Picketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman, cited by the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, performed an analysis on the disappearing American middle class. Their goal was an effort to figure out how the rich get richer and the percentage of people below the poverty line continues to increase.
As incomes in the highest brackets have surged, the study found that the bottom 50% of Americans have seen zero income growth over the past 35 years.
As a way to understand that change, the good folks at Business Insider delved into recent U.S. census data to determine what annual salary a persona currently needs to be among the top 1% of wage earners for their age.
At 25, you’d need to be making at least $116,000 per year to be in the fabled 1%, but by 40, you’d need to be making nearly $400,000. By 45, the chart stabilized with a predictable range of $450,000 before topping out at $479,000 at age 63,
Here’s the entire chart below.
Business Insider compiled the list by compiling data from the 2015 American Community Survey, designed by the Census Bureau to interview 1% of all American households about economic, demographic, and social characteristics – creating a massive sample size of data to be reviewed.
It’s worth noting that just being in the top 1% of incomes doesn’t necessarily mean that person is in the 1% of wealth, because non-income producing assets such as non-rental real estate, precious metals, and equities may only show as income when divested. So while Scrooge McDuck was swimming in his money vault, he may not have been making income that would be reported on taxes.
However, the census data covers a huge sample size, allowed for a general idea of what it takes to be in the top 1% and just what it really means to be “rich” these days. Maybe not Gordon Gekko rich, but rich nonetheless: