These are startling graphs. I knew wealth was concentrated at the top, but I guess I never knew just how much. These graphs visually confirm how each year the top 10 percent are gaining wealth more rapidly than the poor or middle class. The median net worth values show small improvement in the middle class but nothing in the bottom 25%.
The mean (average) net worth graph is more striking. The top 10% have doubled their average net worth since 1989! $1,999,300 increased to $3,985,900. The bottom 25% actually is still negative and worse, from -$1,000 to -$2,200! Again, the middle class is making small progress but most of the wealth gains in this country are flowing to the wealthiest few.
You can see from these graphs how the median net worth statistics reported in the news media is very deceiving. The mean (average) net worth statistics truly show where the wealth is concentrated. So next time you use one of those handy online calculators to see how your net worth compares to other citizens, you have been warned. It is most likely using median statistics.
I do not want to know if I am similar to the masses, I am very aware that I am middle class. I prefer to know if I am gaining or losing ground based on the total wealth in this country.
Median Net Worth = How do I compare to other people? Am I similar to a majority of people?
Average Net Worth = My share of the total pie. How big is my slice?
What do YOU think?