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  • Ryan Wittler

The Top 1% in the U.S. Now Hold More Wealth Than the Entire Middle Class

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New Federal Reserve data shows the richest Americans now hold more wealth than the middle 60% of earners (what most economists typically categorize as the middle class).

Some highlights:

As of this summer, the middle 60% of American earners now hold 26.6% of the nation’s wealth, while the top 1% now hold 27%. According to Bloomberg, it’s the first time the top 1% of earners have had more wealth than the middle 60% since the Fed began tracking household wealth distribution in 1989.

To put those numbers into perspective, the top 1% of earners is made up of just 1.3 million households that make over $500,000 a year, whereas the middle 60% is made up of 77.5 million households making roughly $27,000 to $141,000 a year.

What’s causing it?

Other than decades of tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans ever since the years of “trickle down” bullsh*t, experts say it’s due to the middle class’s declining shares of ownership in three main categories: real estate, equities (e.g., stock), and private businesses.

The pandemic has only made things worse too. As of August, U.S. billionaires got a whopping $1.8 trillion richer during the pandemic, bumping up their share of the nation’s wealth by 62%.

It wasn’t always like this:

In 1989, the first year the Fed tracked household wealth distribution, the top 1% held 17.2% of the nation’s wealth, while the middle 60% held 36.4%.

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