From It’s Our Economy:
Wealth or net worth is the total value of what you own (your assets) minus the total value of your debts (your liabilities.) Our collective net worth is really huge. We’re talking big, big numbers. As of the end of 2011, U.S. households had $30 trillion in private assets and $13.6 trillion in liabilities for a total net worth of $16.4 trillion (PDF). How much is that? It comes to an average of $141,000 per household – free and clear of any debts.
But averages are extremely misleading, because wealth is so highly concentrated at the top. Here are some eye-popping numbers:
1. The number of households with a million dollars or more of net worth grew by 202 percent between 1983 and 2007.
2. The number of households with a net worth of $5 million or more grew by 494 percent.
3. The number of $10 million or more households grew by a whopping 598 percent!
4. There are now more than 464,000 households worth $10 million or more.
5. But the bottom 40 percent of American households has a net worth of nearly zero (.2 percent).
6. If you take out the value of our homes, the bottom 40 percent has a negative net worth of minus 1 percent – meaning they owe more than their assets are worth.
7. Meanwhile the top one percent holds 34.6 percent of our total net worth and 42.7 percent of all financial assets (excluding homes).
8. That means that the top one percent has a positive net worth valued at approximately $5,700,000,000,000 (that’s $5.7 trillion).
Read more here.