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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

August 21, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Inequality grew from 2000 through 2011

More evidence of growing inequality among Americans comes today from the Census Bureau, which looked at five groups, each representing 20 percent of the population (quintiles) from 2000 through 2011. Overall, median net household worth declined by $5,046, or 6.8 percent.

But inequality widened. The top two quintiles saw their worth increase. The lower three saw it fall. The gap between the haves and have-nots increased. All this is having a negative effect on our economy and society.

Net worth is a different way of looking at economic well-being from wages. It consists of the market value of assets owned by members of a household minus liabilities. Pensions, life insurance, jewelry and household furnishings are not included.

Some highlights:

• Net worth fell by $5,124 for households in the bottom 20 percent; $7,056, or more than 49 percent, for those in the second-lowest quintile, and $5.072 for the third quintile.

• The fourth quintile saw its net worth rise by $18,433, or 9.8 percent. The top 20 percent enjoyed a gain of $61,379, or 10.8 percent.

• The highest quintile’s median net worth was 39.8 times higher than the second lowest quintile in 2000. By 2011, it had increased to 86.8 times higher.

• Decreases in net worth were worse for adults closing in on, or entering, middle age. Ages 35 to 44 experienced a $24,689 decline, while the 45-54 group saw a drop of  $27,325.

• The overall median net worth for blacks fell 37.2 percent in these years. The exception: blacks in the upper two quintiles. Blacks in the highest quintile posted larger gains than non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics in the same top group.

You can read the entire report here.


Thursday Reading: Bank of America’s $17 billion penalty is arguably too little, definitely too late | Vox


Today’s Econ Haiku:

Holder went to fix

Injustice in Ferguson

Wall Street was fixed, too


Comments | More in Inequality | Topics: Household income

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