A new study by the US Census Bureau has ‘officially’ discovered what we’ve all known for years, that the gap between the richest in society and the poorest in society has been increasing over the last decade.
The Bureau split the US into five groups, from the wealthiest to the poorest, and found that median net worth of the top groups increased by 11% between 2001 and 2011.
However the US median household net worth declined around 7%.
“The types of assets that households hold may vary,” Census Bureau economist Alfred Gottschalck said.
“Therefore, business cycle changes over time may affect households differently based on their net worth quintile and demographic characteristics.”
The report also found that the bottom 20% were worse off in 2011 than they were in 2000 and in more debt.
In 2011, the median net worth of the poorest was negative – a debt of $6,029 (£3,635), compared with $905 (£546) a decade before.
The report also details a widening of the wealth gap for households sharing the same demographic characteristics, such as age, race and Hispanic origin, and educational attainment of the householder. For example, the median net worth for non-Hispanic whites in the highest quintile was 21.8 times higher than for those in the second-lowest quintile in 2000; in 2011, this had increased to 31.5 times higher. For blacks, the ratio increased from 139.9 to 328.1, and for Hispanics, the increase was from 158.4 to 220.9.
“However, when looking at the highest quintile for these groups, we see that blacks experienced higher relative increases in median net worth than non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics,” Census Bureau economist Marina Vornovitsky said.