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Q: Personal Net Worth Breakdowns ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Personal Net Worth Breakdowns
Category: Business and Money > Finance
Asked by: timpsj-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 30 Jul 2004 09:02 PDT
Expires: 29 Aug 2004 09:02 PDT
Question ID: 381313
I am looking for a break down of net worth in the USA.  For example,
if some one had a net worth of 20 million dollars what percentage
would the put them in terms of net worth of the USA population.  What
rank would they be?  For example would they be the 250,000 richest
person in the USA?

Request for Question Clarification by tutuzdad-ga on 30 Jul 2004 09:51 PDT
I found such a thing that gives this infromation worldwide is this is
of use to you as an answer.


Clarification of Question by timpsj-ga on 30 Jul 2004 13:55 PDT
I am actually looking for info for just the USA.  Thanks.

Request for Question Clarification by efn-ga on 31 Jul 2004 00:20 PDT
I found a table with the median and mean family net worth for five
percentile groups, less than 25, 25-49.9, 50-74.9, 75-89.9, and
90-1000.  It's 2001 data for the USA.  Would that be a satisfactory
answer, or are you looking for more detail?


Clarification of Question by timpsj-ga on 01 Aug 2004 11:03 PDT
I am looking for more specific if it is available.  But I dont know
that it is.  Thanks for your assistance, but lets see if we can get
more specific.  Thanks...
Subject: Re: Personal Net Worth Breakdowns
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 01 Aug 2004 12:41 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello timpsj-ga,

Interesting question, and a bit trickier than many to track down.  

Turns out the most detailed data on wealth are collected not by the
Census Bureau or the IRS (where I would have thought), but by the
Federal Reserve Bank.  The latest data, published in 2003 and covering
data for 2001, can be found in the FRB report at:

A Rolling Tide:
Changes in the Distribution of Wealth in the U.S., 1989-2001
September 2003

In particular, Table 4 of the report provides the type of breakout
you're seeking, in terms of family new worth for 2001:

Table 4: Percent distribution of families over wealth groups defined
in terms of 2001 dollars

Family Worth.............................% in Category












$1,000,000 or more...........................7.0


For the really wealthy, the report also analyzes information from the
list of the wealthiest 400 people in the United States, as compiled
annually by Forbes magazine.

In 2002, the wealthiest individual in the U.S. was rich to the tune of
a net worth of $42.3 billion.  Number 400, in comparison, was worth a
paltry $542 million.  On average, the 400 richest persons had a net
worth of $2.148 billion.  In 2002, there were 205 billionaires in the
U.S., or considerably less than one in a million people -- still a
very rare breed!

Hope this information is just what you need.  But before rating this
answer, please let me know if anything here is not clear, or if you
need additional information.  Just post a Request for Clarification to
let me know how I can assist you, and I am at your service.


search strategy:  Numerous searches on [ net worth statistics ] and
[personal wealth statistics ] and so on did not prove very fruitful. 
Finally, checking the Statistical Abstracts of the US from my
bookmarks list led thier setion on income and wealth, which made
mention of the FRB data collection efforts.  A search at the FRB
website led to the above-referenced report.

Request for Answer Clarification by timpsj-ga on 01 Aug 2004 16:58 PDT
Good info but I wanted more specific information.  For instance what
is the cut off for the 1% point, not just the top 7%.  I really wanted
to know what a wealth of 20 million would rank some one at.

Clarification of Answer by pafalafa-ga on 01 Aug 2004 17:51 PDT
Hello again,

Thanks for getting back to me.  I must confess, I originally took the
$20 million figure as an example of what you were after, rather than
as a key factoid you needed.  My mistake, but happily, one which can
be quickly rectified.

At this link here:

you'll find some information on the population of UHNW's -- ultra-high
net worth households.  UHNW's are defined as households having a net
worth of $10 million and above.  As the site notes:

"The UHNW group comprises an estimated 650,000 U.S. households, or
about one half of one percent of all households. However, these
individuals are estimated to control up to one-third of U.S.
investable assets, underscoring their importance to the financial
services industry."

You can see from this, that a net worth of $20 million places someone
well into the top one-half of one percent of all US households.


A more precise delination, from a fairly recent report (but relying on
data that is a bit dated), can be seen from this IRS "Statics of
Income" analysis of the concentration of wealth in the U.S:
Personal Wealth, 1998
SOI Bulletin, Article, Winter 2002-2003

The report begins with an overview:

"There were more than 6.5 million individuals in
the United States with gross assets of
$625,000 or more in 1998. These ?top wealth
holders? represented about 3.4 percent of the total
U.S. adult population. As a group, top wealth holders
owned more than $11.1 trillion in assets, or almost
32.6 percent of total U.S personal asset holdings.
Almost 4.0 million, or 61.2 percent, of these wealthy
individuals were male, and 2.5 million were female.
The number of millionaires in the United States grew
to more than 2.7 million in 1998."

Table 1 of the report (on page 17) is:

Personal Wealth, 1998: Type of Property by Size of Net Worth

and give the distribution of wealth by the size of net worth (and also
included information on how that wealth is divvied up between stocks,
bonds, real estate, cash, etc.).

The salient statistic for your question is this one:

$20,000,000 or more.......................29,000 individuals holding a
total of $1.526 trillion in assets.

This turns out to be a convenient number, from the point of view of
arithmetic.  There are 29,000 people in the US with a net worth of $20
million or more, out of a total population of approximately 290


29,000 out of 290,000,000 is equivalent to 1 out of 100 thousand
people in the US with a net worth of $20 million or more.

This is equivalent to 0.001%, or one-thousandth of one percent.


Another Table in the report helps in teasing out your one percent question:

Table 7.--Top Wealthholders with Net Worth of $1 Million or More,

As you can see from the first entry in the table, there are 2,743,000
people in the US with a net worth of $1 million or more.

Again, this number make for some convenient arithmetic, since it
almost precisely 1/100th of the country's population.  Hence, 1% of
the people in the US are worth a million or more.


So, we're left with the following:

--about 0.5% of the *households* in the US have a net worth of $10
million or above.

--about 1% of *individuals* have a net worth of $1 million or more.

--only 0.001% of *individuals* had a net worth of $20 million or more
according to the data in 1998.

Hope this is what you were after, but please let me know if you need
anything beyond what I've provided here.

timpsj-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thanks for the great answer.  Exactly what I was looking for.

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