In recent years, as income and wealth inequality have grown as matters of concern, the term “1%” has become a popular way to connote the rise of a super-elite that has separated itself economically from the rest of society.
We’ve all seen the charts showing, in various ways, how much the 1% have seen their wealth grow, while everyone else’s has stagnated.
But talking about the 1% actually misses the real story.
Here’s what happens if you decompose the % of total wealth held by the top 1% in the United States.
So basically, if you’re a poor schmo whose wealth is in the top 1% but not above the top 0.5%, you haven’t seen gains at all. And it’s mostly the same for people between 0.5% and 0.1%. It’s really only above that where the outsize gains have accrued. And really, it’s only the top 0.01% of the wealthiest individuals who have seen the ridiculous gains everyone talks about.
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