General Question

VisionaryAdvait's avatar

According to your sources what are the statistics on distribution of wealth in the United States and globally?

Asked by VisionaryAdvait (167points) June 6th, 2010

According to your sources what are the statistics on distribution of wealth within the United States and globally? What percentage owns what of wealth, and is that by net worth or income etc.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

6 Answers

jerv's avatar

One source I’ve used is “L-curve“_ though the US Census Bureau has some good information as well, including historical information on the cutoff points for each quintile.

I also have this little snippet, and this show of where the wealth, income, and power lie . That last one is my favorite, along with it’s corollary about taxes.

As for what all of it actually says, you’d have to be more specific since it all says a lot. What it all boils down to though is that the US system has a lot of inequality in it and that inequality is getting worse, though the reate at which it gets worse seems to increase when the GOP is in power.

ItsAHabit's avatar

Wealth is highly concentrated as is income taxation:

“The individual income tax share that the wealthiest Americans pay has steadily increased over time.

• In 1980, the individual income tax share paid by the top 1 percent of income earners was 17 percent. By 2004, the tax share for this same group had more than doubled, to 37 percent.

• The share of income tax paid by the top 5 percent and top 10 percent of income earners has also increased during the same time period, albeit not as drastically.
–In 1980, the share of income tax paid by the top 5 percent was 35 percent. In 2004, the share paid by this group had increased to 58 percent.
–For the same years, the top 10 percent of income earners paid 48 percent and 71 percent, respectively, of income tax.

• Over the same period, the share of pretax income that the top 5 percent and 10 percent earned increased from 21 percent and 31 percent to 29 and 39 percent, respectively.

Whereas the top 10 percent of income earners earned 39 percent of the pretax income, they paid 71 percent of individual income taxes.”


jerv's avatar

@ItsAHabit That information is dated and a bit incomplete. I will say that it doesn’t match any numbers I’ve found. Quite a few of the numbers I’ve seen place only about 37% of the tax burden on the top 10% and for 2009 no burden on the bottom 47%—who earn ~15% of the income and are too poor to be taxed—leaving the middle 43% , while most of them say something else, so I would check with multiple sources.

And then there is this; “Although overall income had grown by 27% since 1979, 33% of the gains went to the top 1%. Meanwhile, the bottom 60% were making less: about 95 cents for each dollar they made in 1979. The next 20% – those between the 60th and 80th rungs of the income ladder—made $1.02 for each dollar they earned in 1979. Furthermore, the Times author concludes that only the top 5% made significant gains ($1.53 for each 1979 dollar).”

As for share of taxes, you cannot take anything before/during the Reagan era without a big grain of salt. I mean, it’s apples and oranges.

I think that we both can agree that finding real, indisputable numbers is a bit tricky though.

ETpro's avatar

@ItsAHabit and @jerv Your separate answers certainly show that statistics never lie, but a lot of liars are statisticians. I think @jerv sources are close to the truth. Better check the motives of your statisticians. They either are in the top 1% of wealth holders, or are shills for them.

arpinum's avatar

read the wikipedia page on the gini coefficient. Make sure to read the whole thing. Sorry I can’t say more, but I don’t want bob_ to be getting on my case.

wiki page includes links to census data, world bank, oecd, bls. All fine data sources. The most important thing when reading this data is determining what is being measured exactly. Before or after taxes. Before of after transfers. Before charity donations. After charity donations. How is land used in income measures.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther