Economic snapshot | Unions and Labor Standards

Where is the wealth?

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A weekly presentation of downloadable charts and short analyses designed to graphically illustrate important economic issues. Updated every Wednesday.

Snapshot for June 16, 1999


Where is the wealth?

Wealth inequality has grown in the 1990s. As of 1997 (the latest year for which data is available), the top 1% of U.S. households controlled 39.1% of all wealth.

When comparing the changes in wealth distribution over the 1983-97 period, the large shift in wealth primarily benefited the top 1% (rising from 33.8% to 39.1% of all wealth). In comparison, the bottom 95% of the wealth distribution experienced flat or falling growth in wealth over the same period.

The explosive growth of the stock market further concentrated wealth at the top of the income scale between 1995 and 1997. Projections suggest that the share of wealth controlled by the top 1% increased by 1.5 percentage points (from 37.6% to 39.1%) in just the past couple of years.

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Source: The State of Working America 1998-99.

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