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US Census Bureau Data Reports 28 Percent Wealth Increase Among Affluent

By Hilda Scott , Apr 26, 2013 04:14 PM EDT
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Research analysis of recently released U.S. Census Bureau data shows that the average net worth of wealthier people increased another 28 percent. In wealth distribution, this applies to households that are in the upper 7 percent.

Data shows that among the affluent 8 million households in the upper 7 percent, the average wealth grew from an estimated $2,476,244 in 2009 to an estimated $3,173,895 in 2011. Among the less affluent 111 million households, average wealth decreased. The estimated household wealth of $139,896 reported in 2009 fell to an estimated $133,817 in 2011, a 4 percent decline.

During 2009 and 2011, economic recovery was underway in the United States which may explain the variances. Those first two years marked when the stock market was getting back on its feet while the housing market was at a standstill. Typically in more affluent houses, assets are invested in stocks, bonds and other financial holdings. Among less affluent, wealth is invested in the property value of the home.

According to Pew Research Center, due to the wealth inequality increase, the more affluent households saw a wealth of almost 24 times that of the less affluent. Prior to the start of the economic recovery in 2009, the ratio was 18-to-1. Overall, as a nation, the wealth of all households increased by $5 trillion from $35.2 trillion in 2009 to $40 trillion in 2011, according to U.S. Census data.

Census Bureau household data was assessed by calculating the sum of all assets and subtracting the sum of all debts. Assets include the ownership of homes, cars, real property, 401K, stocks and other financial holdings. Debts include mortgages, credit cards as well as car and student loans.

The latest release of Census Bureau data further revealed that the overall net worth per U.S. household in 2011 made up for losses suffered in 2005. 

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