The top 10 percent of families in terms of wealth own 76 percent of all family wealth in the U.S., according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). In 2013, the last year of the CBO study, in addition to the top 10 percent holding 76 percent of all family wealth, families in the 51st to the 90th percentiles held 23 percent of all family wealth, and families in the bottom half of the distribution held only one percent. Average wealth was about $4 million for families in the top 10 percent of the wealth distribution, $316,000 for families in the 51st to 90th percentiles, and $36,000 for families in the 26th to 50th percentiles. On average, families at or below the 25th percentile were $13,000 in debt. Wealth in this study is not income, but assets minus debts. From 1989 to 2013, the period of the study, the wealth held by the top 10 percent increased from 67 to 76 percent.
Wealthy households' income has risen faster than that of low income households, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. As the chart below demonstrates, the income of the wealthiest households, those in the 95th percentile, increased by 75 percent between 1967 and 2014. In contrast, the income of the lowest level households, those in the 10th and 50th percentiles, only increased by approximately 21 percent during the same period. This chart adjusted incomes across the time period to 2014 dollars.
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