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History of Wealth Percentiles
Old 09-14-2007, 12:08 PM   #1
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History of Wealth Percentiles

All this talk about the value of a million dollars has me wondering what the distribution of wealth in the US has been over time. The 2004 Survey of Consumer Finances tells me what the threshold to get in the top 2.5% has been for the last few years:

1995 836.7
1998 1,039.1
2001 1,386.6
2004 1,430.1

And I can get recent data on the top 1% of AGI ($328,000 in 2004), but there must be a nice graph or table somewhere showing how much wealth you'd need to get in the top 1% from 1920 to today. Does anyone know of anything like this?

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Old 09-14-2007, 06:26 PM   #2
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I don't know whether you'll find exactly what you're looking for, but the census bureau (Census Bureau Home Page) tracks income in various forms. Wealth stats are harder to find.

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Old 09-14-2007, 07:39 PM   #3
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I strongly doubt the accuracy of census data when it comes to things like wealth / income levels. It sure would be interesting for someone like the IRS to sit down and correlate census-reported values versus 1040s. Of course we know that census data is confidential and that would never happen right
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Old 09-14-2007, 08:34 PM   #4
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I've done OK, but I will never be in top 1% of AGI! Adjusted for inflation you need around 355K/year in today's dollars. I'm just gussing but that number sounds high.
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Old 09-15-2007, 05:46 AM   #5
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Interesting report. Sizable redistribution of wealth.

I had a statistics prof who said "whenever the mean and median are going different directions, big structural changes/funky stuff is happing"

Saw on TV where 50% of Americans have zero equities, and another 25% have less than $20,000. So only 1/4 people has more than more than $20K in stocks.

Yet around my town, "everyone looks prosperous" - new cars, clothes, lattes, houses.

I'm guessing the negative savings rate, two working parents, easy credit, home equity withdrawl, etc have allowed the middle class to "mask and ignore" this structural wealth distribution.
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Old 09-15-2007, 06:35 AM   #6
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This thread has a lot of references to income and I believe wealth distribution in Ameirca. It really starts getting into wealth control on about the fifth page.

You don't want to work. You want to live like a king, but the big bad world don't owe you a thing. Get over it--The Eagles
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