Thursday, October 10, 2013

Stunning Facts: America Has 13.2 Million Millionaires Or 4% Of Americans are Millionaires

America is adding millionaires. Another 1.7 million Americans became millionaires last year, bringing the US total to 13.2 million. That's a bit more than 4% of the population or 1 of every 25 Americans.

America's income continues to skew heavily toward the top. Times have never been better for America's wealthiest. Meanwhile median incomes are stagnant or falling in real terms.

On planet earth, there are 41 million millionaires or less than 1% of the world's population. In other words, America has a little less than one-third of the world's millionaires, while comprising just 4% of the world's population.


  1. Well, if you look back 45 years, just 1 in 25 Americans made $100,000 according to the latest report from the Census. And we can slice the income data in almost any way we like to tell any story we like. Hardy "non-ideological" facts come from telling income stories like above.

    In any case, in regards to the last paragraph of the post, the US produces roughly 25% of the World's Output. It's producing millionaires nearly in proportion to its overall output. That's hardly stunning, particularly given the somewhat better institutional environment for entrepreneurs here.

    1. You have lost me when you say that the data in this post is ideological. How so?

    2. Particularly when we draw comparisons to the rest of the world - the dispersion in US incomes is not a phenomenon unique to the US, it is happening in a good many countries. Furthermore the data by household share does not support the hollowing out of the middle story - we have to rely on median data to make that story. But in either case, the data do not track the same families over time, so it's not exactly right to say times are bad or good for any particular group. For example, a few years ago my family income plummeted. Why? We were in school. Today it's "normal." The 13.2 millionaires are not the same people today as they were in the past, and the same for the poor. Mobility data that tracks people does a better job and shows a very mixed picture. I can torture the data myself to suggest that things are much better for all of us, but that still doesn't change your correct argument that something about wage structure seems to have changed in this recent generation. All I am saying is that this particular topic is most prone to ideology among other topics.

    3. Income distribution can be measured with reasonable certainty. Most analysts would agree that the US income distribution shows the greatest disparity between those at the top and those at the bottom since 1928. People can and do disagree what the impacts of such a distribution is on GDP growth rates. People can and do disagree whether such a distribution is "good" or "bad." I side with those saying the high degree of inequality both slows GDP growth and is "unfair." That case is made stronger by the data about deteriorating income mobility in the US that again most analysts accept. Old Europe has more income mobility than the US in many cases. At any rate 2012 was a great year in the USA for millionaire creation. The US created 1.7 million of the 1.8 million new millionaires in the world during 2012. The number of millionaires in the USA also increased about 14% in 2013.