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wrote...
Posts: 29
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4 years ago
In academic and sociological terms, describe the distribution of income and wealth in the United States.  What do you think about that distribution?  Should anything change about?  If so, what?  If not, why?
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rsb
wrote...
4 years ago
Hello, I found an excellent resource for you:

http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html
wrote...
Staff Member
4 years ago
In 2007, the top 10% wealthiest possessed 80% of all financial assets. In 2007 the richest 1% of the American population owned 34.6% of the country's total wealth, and the next 19% owned 50.5%. Thus, the top 20% of Americans owned 85% of the country's wealth and the bottom 80% of the population owned 15%. In 2011, financial inequality was greater than inequality in total wealth, with the top 1% of the population owning 42.7%, the next 19% of Americans owning 50.3%, and the bottom 80% owning 7%. However, after the Great Recession which started in 2007, the share of total wealth owned by the top 1% of the population grew from 34.6% to 37.1%, and that owned by the top 20% of Americans grew from 85% to 87.7%. The Great Recession also caused a drop of 36.1% in median household wealth but a drop of only 11.1% for the top 1%, further widening the gap between the top 1% and the bottom 99%.

According to PolitiFact and others, in 2011 the 400 wealthiest Americans "have more wealth than half of all Americans combined." Inherited wealth may help explain why many Americans who have become rich may have had a "substantial head start". In September 2012, according to the Institute for Policy Studies, "over 60 percent" of the Forbes richest 400 Americans "grew up in substantial privilege".

In 2013 wealth inequality in the U.S. was greater than in most developed countries other than Switzerland and Denmark. In the United States, the use of offshore holdings is exceptionally small compared to Europe, where much of the wealth of the top percentiles is kept in offshore holdings. While the statistical problem is European wide, in Southern Europe statistics become even more unreliable. Less than a thousand people in Italy have declared incomes of more than 1 million euros. Former Prime Minister of Italy described tax evasion as a "national pastime". According to a 2014 Credit Suisse study, the ratio of wealth to household income is the highest it has been since the Great Depression.
Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wealth_inequality_in_the_United_States
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