Wealth inequality is alive and well in the U.S.—and it’s only getting worse.
Zucman’s calculations show that the top 0.1% of the U.S. population possesses close to 20% of the wealth in the country—more than the bottom 80% of the population combined. When expanded to the top 10%, the share of the pie continues to grow: they own more than 70% of wealth in the country, or twice that owned by the bottom 90%.
But it’s not just about how much wealth the upper echelons possess. Their growing share of American wealth since the early 1980s has coincided with a drop in the share of wealth by the rest of the country.
For example, the 400 richest people in the U.S., or the top 0.00025%, have tripled their share of wealth in that time. Meanwhile, the 150 million Americans in the bottom 60% have seen a decline from a 5.7% share in 1987 to a 2.1% share in 2014.
As The Washington Post notes, “the wealthy are becoming wealthier…and there’s good reason to think it’s happening at the expense of everyone else.”