Economic inequality in the United States has been receiving a lot of attention. But it’s not just an issue of the rich getting richer. The typical American household has been getting poorer, too.
The inflation – adjusted net worth for the typical household was $87,992 in 2003. Ten years later, it was only $56,335, or a 36% decline, according to a study funded by the Russell Sage Foundation.
Those are numbers for a household in the middle of wealth distribution. During the same period, the net worth of wealthy households increased considerably.
The Russell Sage study also studied net worth at the 95th percentile. It found that for this population, household net worth increased 14% over the same 10 years. Other research, by economists like Edward Wolff at New York University, has shown even greater gains in wealth for the richest 1% of households.