Earnings of top 10% of households

We find it hard to nail down accurate statistics concerning the earnings per family in the USA, especially for the top brackets. Also, we suspect that figures are understated because they are based upon tax returns rather than actual audits. Even the concept of “income” is nebulous since the increase or decrease in the value of assets is not likely measured. (To the individual household, the increase in the value of a house or stock seems like earnings while a drop seems like a loss; but this doesn’t measure on the tax return until a sale takes place.) Nevertheless, the following seems to make a good go at measurement.

Fellowship of the Minds …Conservatives who love America

  • Top 10% of households had annual gross income of $118,200 or more. (2006)
  • Top 5% of households (3/4s of whom had 2 income earners) had annual gross income of $166,200 or more.
  • Top 3% (2.67%) had annual gross income of $200,000 or more.
  • Top 1.5% had annual gross income of $250,000 or more.
  • Top 0.1% (0.12% or 146,000 households) had annual gross income of $1,600,000 or more.

The 2008 article on My Budget 360 further breaks down that Top 0.1%. At its apex are:

  • The top 0.01% (11,000 households) with annual incomes of $5.5 million or more.
  • The top 400 highest tax payers in America had annual incomes of $87 million or more.

Notice how the incomes gradually go up from the Top Third’s $65,000 to the Top 1.5%’s $250,000, but between the Top 1.5%’s $250,000 and the Top 0.1%’s $1.6 million) is a huge gap of $1.35 million!

While households in the top 1.5% of households had incomes exceeding $250,000, 443% above the national median, their incomes were still 2200% lower than those of the top 0.01% of households. One can therefore conclude that almost any household, even those with incomes of $250,000 annually are poor when compared to the top 0.1%, who in turn are poor compared to the top 0.000267%, the top 400 taxpaying households.

According to the Federal Reserve Board, here’s the distribution of U.S. households’ networths in 2001:

  • 6.9% of U.S. households had a negative networth of <$0 (i.e., those who not only have zero assets but are in debt).
  • 5.4% of households had a networth of $0-$999.
  • 2.4% of households had a networth of $1,000-$2,499.
  • 3.5% of households had a networth of $2,500-$4,999.
  • 4.7% of households had a networth of $5,000-$9,999.
  • 8.1% of households had a networth of $10,000-$24,999.
  • 9.2% of households had a networth of $25,000-$49,999.
  • 12.8% of households had a networth of $50,000-$99,999.
  • 19.2% of households had a networth of $100,000-$249,999.
  • 13% of households had a networth of $250,000-$499,999.
  • 7.8% of households had a networth of $500,000-$999,999.
  • 7% of households had a networth of $1 million or more.
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Updated: January 5, 2012 — 3:53 pm
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