Rich America versus Poor America: stats about the wealth gap

Occupy's "99%" and "1%" slogans made America's widening wealth gap into part of the common discourse. But (as this video demonstrated) it's still hard to wrap your head around how widespread poverty is in America, and how much richer America's rich have become. This listicle, 21 Hard To Believe Facts About 'Wealthy America' And 'Poor America' delivering a series of ringing slaps to make the reality sink in:

#1 The lowest earning 23,303,064 Americans combined make 36 percent less than the highest earning 2,915 Americans do.

#2 40 percent of all American workers (39.6 percent to be precise) make less than $20,000 a year.

#3 According to the Pew Research Center, the top 7 percent of all U.S. households own 63 percent of all the wealth in the country.

#4 On average, households in the top 7 percent have 24 times as much wealth as households in the bottom 93 percent.

#5 According to numbers that were just released this week, 49.7 million Americans are living in poverty.  That is a brand new all-time record high.

#6 In the United States today, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.

#7 Household incomes have actually been declining for five years in a row and total consumer credit has risen by a whopping 22 percent over the past three years.

Which America Do You Live In? – 21 Hard To Believe Facts About 'Wealthy America' And 'Poor America'

Notable Replies

  1. Occupy's "99%" and "1%" slogans made America's widening wealth gap into part of the common discourse.

    And for that, especially, Occupy should be thanked. Fuck all those who think it was a waste of time.

  2. Ygret says:

    what fascinates me is the relation of these three facts:

    1. The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have as much wealth as the bottom one-third of all Americans combined.

    2. 18 percent of all food stamp dollars are spent at Wal-Mart.

    3. Chinese slave labor produces much of what is sold at Wal-Mart.

    This, to the plutocracy, is the perfection of unregulated global capitalism: government provided corporate welfare, slave labor and mass immiseration.

  3. Two reactions to this:

    1. We've had capitalism for a long time, but the wealth gap wasn't this ridiculously huge before. How do you account for this? Are the people at the bottom getting lazier and lazier, or are CEOs an order of magnitude more talented than their counterparts were a generation or two ago?
    2. Once the wealth gap gets sufficiently large you don't have a democracy anymore, you have a plutocracy. In an era where the Supreme Court has held that "unlimited campaign contributions" are a protected form of expression, how can you argue that people at the bottom have any real chance at representation? When a tiny handful of ultra-rich people control most of the media outlets, how can you argue that the poorest Americans truly have free speech? When most of the nation's wealth and resources are controlled by an ever-shrinking minority, what chance do most people have to shape the "free" market?
  4. And you don't think these two are related?

  5. Some people HERE in this country do not have that luxury of "not thinking about the money", because they will be out on their asses if they don't make rent, or they have to make a faustian choice between groceries and the power. Or they risk losing everything because they happen to get sick.

    Just because class war doesn't look like a slaughterhouse, doesn't mean it isn't happening.

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