View Full Version : The Extinction of the American Middle Class: #1 in Billionaires, #27 in Median Wealth

06-29-2013, 02:17 PM
The Extinction of the American Middle Class: #1 in Billionaires, #27 in Median Wealth

Marcos Da Silva (http://occupydemocrats.com/author/marcos/)
June 28, 2013

According to a March 2013 Forbes report (http://www.forbes.com/billionaires/), the United States is home to the largest number of billionaires of any country in the world. America towers over its closest competitors, China and Russia, with a staggering 442 billionaires at home compared to China and Russia’s respective 96 and 95. America’s 442 billionaires account for roughly 30% of the 1,492 billionaires in the world today.

So it may come as a great surprise that despite being one of the richest nations in the world, with an average wealth per adult of $270,000, placing the U.S. at 7th in the world, American median wealth per adult is substantially lower than in many countries. Remarkably, the United States’ median wealth per adult is 27th in the world at $38,786 per adult, according to the 2012 Global Wealth Databook report by Credit Suisse (http://www.usagainstgreed.org/GlobalWealth2012.pdf).

Country / Median Wealth Per Adult

1. Australia $193,653
2. Luxembourg $153,967
3. Japan $141,410
4. Italy $123,710
5. Belgium $119,937
6. United Kingdom $115,245
7. Iceland $ 95,685
8. Singapore $ 95,542 (non-OECD)
9. Switzerland $ 87,137
10. Denmark $ 87,121
11. Austria $ 81,649
12. Canada $ 81,610
13. France $ 81,274
14. Norway $ 79,376
15. Finland $ 73,487
16. New Zealand $ 63,000
17. Netherlands $ 61,880
18. Ireland $ 60,953
19. Qatar $ 57,027 (non-OECD)
20. Spain $ 53,292
21. United Arab Emir. $ 47,998 (non-OECD)
22. Taiwan $ 45,451 (non-OECD)
23. Germany $ 42,222
24. Sweden $ 41,367
25. Cyprus $ 40,535 (non-OECD)
26. Kuwait $ 40,346 (non-OECD)
27. United States $ 38,786

People in the upper earning categories, earning millions or billions each year, significantly skew the average value of wealth per adult, causing the huge disparity between America’s average wealth per adult figure of $270,000, and median wealth per adult figure of $38,786. One inflated millionaire salary among a large number of blue-collar workers can skew average income numbers dramatically and make it seem like folks generally earn more on average than they actually do. This is why median income figures provide more meaningful results for the typical citizen. Median income figures are more effective when data is subject to a large number of statistical outliers, as is the case with income inequality.

Median wealth per adult, describes the amount of wealth accumulated by the person precisely in the middle of the wealth distribution. It’s the perfect indicator of how the middle class is doing. And right now, the American middle class is substantially slipping behind the rest of the world. While Australia, at the top of the list has a median wealth per adult of $193,653, half of the American population struggles with earning less than $38,786 a year.

What we are witnessing is the extinction of the middle class in America. The disparity between our average and median wealth figures as a nation point to a disproportionate wealth gap between rich and poor that is widening every year. Despite this widening wealth gap, Republicans continue to call for the lowering of income and capital gains tax rates for the richest sectors of society, and for allowing big business with diminishing local loyalty and increasingly global interests and self sufficiency to operate with more impunity and less regulation. The fact is our middle class is slowly becoming extinct, and the wealth in the upper earning minority never quite reaches the everyday Americans who make up the majority of this country.

For more information, check out this video highlighting both inequality and the difference between our perception of inequality and the actual numbers: