A new Congressional Budget Office report examining trends in family wealth confirms what most Americans know: The poor are buried in debt, the middle income are stagnating, and—shocker—the richest are piling up even more wealth. (CBO defines wealth as a family's assets—including business and home equities, other real estate holdings, financial securities, bank deposits, and pension accounts—minus its debts.)
"The distribution of wealth among the nation's families was more unequal in 2013 than it had been in 1989."
Families in the top 10 percent of wealth distribution now hold more than three-quarters of the nation's total family wealth.
Those falling within the 51st to 90th percentiles owned less than a quarter of it.
Meanwhile, the bottom 50 percent own just 1 percent of the total share.
The average wealth of the top 10 percent of families was $4 million compared with $36,000 for those in the 26th to 50th percentiles.
The wealth of families in the bottom 25 percent was in the red, because of an average of about $13,000 in debt, up from around $1,000 in debt prior to the Great Recession. A total of 15 million families were in debt in 2013, with an average indebtedness of $32,000.
Even though Americans at all levels took a hit during the recession, the top 10 percent has seen its losses return at a much faster rate than everyone else. The gap between the rich and the rest has continued to grow. It found that the top 1 percent has seen its average real income grow 192 percent since 1979, compared with a 46 percent increase for middle-income families.
The report also found an increase in debt among the bottom 25 percent of families, due in part to rising student loan debt, which jumped from $24,000 to $36,000 on average between 2007 and 2013.
The top one-tenth of one percent owns about 23 times as much wealth as the bottom 50 percent - over 150 million Americans.