According to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute, the wealthiest 1 percent of American households had a net worth 288 times as large as the median household wealth of $57,000 in 2010. This constitutes a huge increase from 1962, when the ratio was 125–1:
Since 1983, nearly three-quarters of the growth in total household wealth went to the top 5 percent, while the bottom four-fifths of American households saw their wealth decrease:
This is yet another indication of the explosion of income inequality that has occurred over the last few decades, as more and more of the country’s income and wealth traveled to the richest Americans. This is detrimental to America’s economic success because, as EPI explained, “wealth makes it easier for families to invest in education and training, start a small business, or fund retirement.” Wealth also makes it easier to cope in a financial emergency.