Pew: Wealthy Getting Wealthier While Bottom 93 Percent Lose Net Worth

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Screen capture of a chart indicating changes in net worth per household. (Credit: pewsocialtrends.org)

Screen capture of a chart indicating changes in net worth per household. (Credit: pewsocialtrends.org)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – A recent study conducted by Pew Research’s Social & Demographic Trends division has found that the nation’s economic recovery has largely benefited America’s wealthiest citizens.

Their analysis also indicated that most of the country continues to struggle, with the vast majority of the United States actually losing overall net worth in their households between 2009 and 2011.

“During the first two years of the nation’s economic recovery, the mean net worth of households in the upper 7 percent of the wealth distribution rose by an estimated 28 percent,” a release on the findings stated. “[T]he mean net worth of households in the lower 93 percent dropped by 4 percent, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly released Census Bureau data.”

A reported 111 million households in the larger and less affluent group experienced a decline of mean wealth from approximately $139,869 to approximately $133,817.

Conversely, 8 million homes on the top echelon of American wealth enjoyed rises in household net worth from approximately $2,476,244 to $3,173,895.

These differences also served to exacerbate the rift between the nation’s wealthiest and those on lower levels of the economic divide during the first two years of economic recovery.

“The upper 7 percent of households saw their aggregate share of the nation’s overall household wealth pie rise to 63 percent in 2011, up from 56 percent in 2009,” the release explained. “On an individual household basis, the mean wealth of households in this more affluent group was almost 24 times that of those in the less affluent group in 2011. At the start of the recovery in 2009, that ratio had been less than 18-to-1.”

According to Pew, the Census Bureau data analyzed during their study also showed a decrease in the amount of stocks and mutual fund shares in the possession of less affluent homes – a trend which resulted in a smaller level of enjoyment in the stock market’s rally to recovery for those who may have needed the money most.

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