The Stunning Charts Showing Just How Much Richer The Rich Have Gotten While The Poor Drown In Debt

Tyler Durden's picture

The Fed's epic wealth redistribution scheme has gotten so simple, even a 5 year old Census Bureau employee gets it.

In the latest Household Wealth report by the government agency, the Census found that for the period ended 2011 the rich got richer (and would get much richer in the subsequent 2.5 years), while the poor, i.e. the majority of the US population, got poorer. In fact, not only did the poor get poorer, but the first quintile of the US population, or the bottom 20% by net worth, certainly not by representation as it happens to be the most populated, saw a decline in net worth from negative $905 in 2000 to negative $6,029, in other words debt.  Remember this chart showing that the rich have assets and the poor have debt...

... Well here it is again, this time with numbers populated from the Census Bureau:

In the meantime the rich have gotten ridiculously rich. The numbers, for 2011, are straightforward: the median net worth of the top 20% rose 0.4% to $630,754, and has increased by $61,379 in net worth since the year 2000. A simple infographic showing this:


A time lapse at the change in net worth across all cohorts. Of note: the 4th and 5th quintiles have done well. Everyone else, not so much. In fact, the median net worth for all households declined by 6.8% ot $5,046 between 2000 and 2011!

This is how the Census phrases it:

Median net worth increased between 2000 and 2011 for households in the top two quintiles of the net worth distribution (the wealthiest 40 percent), while declining for those in the lower three quintiles (the bottom 60 percent), according to new statistics released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. The result was a widening wealth gap between those at the top and those in the middle and bottom of the net worth distribution. Each quintile represents 20 percent, or one-fifth, of all households.


According to Distribution of Household Wealth in the U.S.: 2000 to 2011 and associated detailed tables, median household net worth decreased by $5,124 for households in the first (bottom) net worth quintile and increased by $61,379 (or 10.8 percent) for those in the highest (top) quintile (Figure 1). Median net worth of households in the highest quintile was 39.8 times higher than the second lowest quintile in 2000, and it rose to 86.8 times higher in 2011. (Figure 2).


The report also details a widening of the wealth gap for households sharing the same demographic characteristics, such as age, race and Hispanic origin, and educational attainment of the householder. For example, the median net worth for non-Hispanic whites in the highest quintile was 21.8 times higher than for those in the second-lowest quintile in 2000; in 2011, this had increased to 31.5 times higher. For blacks, the ratio increased from 139.9 to 328.1, and for Hispanics, the increase was from 158.4 to 220.9.

As noted above, keep in mind that this data is only through 2011. Based on historical data, and as we have reported previously total household net worth surpassed previous records in mid 2013 and is currently in uncharted territory courtesy entirely of the relentless engineered rise in the Fed-manipulated stock market. In fact, based on Q1 data, total household net worth is at a record high of $81.8 trillion, with the bulk of it, or $67 trillion, derived from financial assets.


Which means that in the interim two years the rich not only got even richer, but have now surpassed all previous records.

And by implication, America's poor, that 20% on the net worth scale which is far greater than 20% in terms of population and that has only debt to show and no assets, are currently so deep in debt, there is no wonder the US economy is a complete disaster to all but the choice few who comprise the top quntile, and to the paid economists and pundits who make money by cheerleading the "growing" US economy to its final resting place.

But nowhere is the "financialization" of the US economy more evident than in this chart showing the relative net worth ratio of quntile to the next quintile right below it. Quote Census: "The distribution of net worth became more spread out between 2000 and 2011. The ratio of median net worth of the highest quintile to the second quintile increased from 39.8 to 86.8 between 2000 and 2011, and the ratio of the highest quintile to the third quintile increased from 7.7 to 9.2. The ratio of the highest quintile to the fourth quintile was 3.0 in 2000 and showed no statistically significant change over this period." 

The surge took place precisely as the last credit bubble peaked and then burst. "Ironically" the richest did not get nearly as hurt as everyone else.

It is safe to say that the net worth ratio of the top quntile to the second higher is now, 2014, well over 100%. And to thin it was just 40% at the beginning of the century.

Here Census does a curious detour, because in addition to just wealth quntiles it also looks at wealth distribution by race. And while it is no surprise that in absolute terms rich whites are richer than rich blacks or hispanics, with a net worth at the end of 2011 of $754,244, $229,041 and $250,462 respectively...

... the wealth redistribution within the ranks is far greater among blacks than the other two racial cohorts. In fact, while the ratio of the wealthiest 20% of whites increased only modestly, the increase was somewhat greater for the fifth hispanic quintile, and soared for the richest 20% of all blacks.

From the Census: "the ratio of median net worth of non-Hispanic whites to that of blacks rose from 10.6 to 17.5 between 2000 and 2011, and the ratio of non-Hispanic whites to Hispanics also increased from 8.1 to 14.4. "However, when looking at the highest quintile for these groups, we see that blacks experienced higher relative increases in median net worth than non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics," Census Bureau economist Marina Vornovitsky said.

This is a finding that probably won't be mentioned too often by the president in his populist, race-baiting speeches.

Finally, why is any of this important?

Simple: the trends presented here confirm not only why class animosity within American society is at all time highs, they also explain why without the life support of the Fed, the US economy would crumple.

The chart below, which we have shown before, explains why: with the purchasing power of the poor being funneled to the rich couretsy of the Fed, and as a result of ever greater indebtedness which limits how much more debt they can carry, the poor have no choice but to consume less and less. Something which the US economy has demonstrated vividly to all but the 1% who continue to live, oblivious, in its ivory tower.

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Scisco's picture

I wonder if the rich count the debt of the lowest 20% an asset?

zaphod's picture

If the poor are drowning in debt, then the FED destroying the dollar and all dollar denominated debt will be cheered by the majority. While the rich are in inflation protected assets.

The middle class? Well that idea won't make through the other side of the tunnel.

cynicalskeptic's picture

Inflation protected assets?  


Pray tell just what would those be?        Houses in the Hamptons and Aspen?   Renoirs and Rembrants?  or Gold, Silver and Swiss Francs?

Pool Shark's picture



"The poor are more likely to consume."

How about:

"Those who consume too much are likely to be poor."

There, fixed that...

markmotive's picture

This is life. Darwinism, if you will. The strong get stronger and the weak get weaker. Socialism is a reaction to this. But we all know how well socialism works out. So we're f@cked either way.

Acet's picture

It's not that the poor consume a lot in absolute terms, it's that they consume a lot as percentage of their income. In simple terms: everybody has basic needs which they MUST supply for (such as food and a roof over one's head) and the cost of supplying those for a month is a FAR, FAR larger proportion of a poor person's income (sometimes more than 100%, hence debt & food banks) than of a rich person's income.

Every additional dollar which goes into a poor person's income will 100% go into consumption (better food, better housing, small luxuries) while every additional dollar that goes into a rich person's income will almost entirelly end up in some kind of investment (which is why, as inequality has been rising, we have seen all kinds of investment bubbles all around us, from stocks to real-estate).

sessinpo's picture

On the other hand, if you were to give them $1 million dollars and cleared all their debts, I would bet that most of them would have wasted the million dollars and within 10 years, they'd be right back to poverty status.

max2205's picture

Why do people focus on a group that is 15-20% of the population

Fuck me.... They are twice as many poor white folks than the entire black head count

This shit talk has to stop

Joebloinvestor's picture

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Will never change, and if it does, CHAOS.

AssFire's picture

The media hides the truths and amplifies perceived injustices... even when there is not one shred of truth from the accusers in the final analysis.

intric8's picture

Examine EVERYTHING going on and there's only one conclusion to draw - america is being purposefully gutted from every angle, at every turn

Oldwood's picture

Thats just silly. Listen to these people talk and you will KNOW that they love us and are only doing this for our own good!

jballz's picture

No they count the bottom 20% as their asset. The debt is just collateral to make sure they don't wander off.

Oldwood's picture

Absolutely. Debt is servitude. White men thought they were so smart buying Manhattan for some shiny beads and crap, but these guys have figured out how to buy people for the price of a Chinese flat screen TV. They own both the Chinese worker and the American consumer...but what do they plan to do with us? Soylent????

All Risk No Reward's picture

No TV required...  the instant Federal Reserve Notes and/or bank credit is created, society is OWNED by the Debt Money Tyrants.

BeetleBailey's picture







Oldwood's picture

Well it is possible that we may discover that the rich and the poor are the same people. Inflation is for more than just covering the national debt.

are we there yet's picture

I prefer option 'C'.  Smaller government that spends and taxes less. Like when I grew up and America was a real govenment.

Grande Tetons's picture

You must be around 230 years old...give or take a few years. 

venturen's picture

how about treat everyone equal....and stop the foolish capital gains get taxed once a decade at a lower rate after every accounting gimick. How about one tax. tjat catch everyone. No more Goldman gets accerlated deprecation of a renewable park that has been written off 5 times before.

stacking12321's picture

"how about treat everyone equal....and stop the foolish capital gains get taxed once a decade at a lower rate after every accounting gimick. How about one tax. tjat catch everyone. "

your statement is contradictory.

if everyone is treated equal, then no man has any right to point a gun at another man and steal the fruit of his labors (taxation).

if you really believe in equality, and property rights, you recognize that taxation is theft, and don't support it for any reason.

if it's not voluntary, it's not right.

there's no reason for government to exist; it's time for humanity to cast off its chains.

sessinpo's picture

So we have another person in fantasy world. While the progressives push for socialism, you are at the opposite extreme. Another failure.

I don't like government but I understand why it exist and will always be there in one form or another. That is something you miss. Learn history.

stacking12321's picture

i am not at any extreme, and it is you, sir, that are the failure, if you truly believe that a man has the right to take away the fruit of another man's labor by force or threat of force.

you are a failure to understand the simple difference between right and wrong, and you have not provided any valid logical argument as to contradict what i've said.

there was a time not long ago when slave owners argued as you do: slavery has always existed and always will exist, therefore you should not argue against slavery or oppose it.

but the truth is, mankind has advanced somewhat as a species, and we will advance again.


FredFlintstone's picture

Read The Bell Curve. It gives some clues to the phenomenon. There is other shit going on too, but...

highly debtful's picture

Take note, America, the divergence is getting quite alarming. This is the stuff revolutions are made of.

yogibear's picture

A revolution will occur when it gets bad enough.  It depends how far the elite want to take it.

Dead Man Walking's picture

No revolution while there is TV, turn off cable...revolution.

mrpxsytin's picture

Would anyone kindly provide links to resources that can accurately explain why we could be facing a bank bail-in economic crisis situation? I have a friend who knows nothing about the economy and I'd like to expose him to the possibility of an economic crisis.

Thanks in advance. 

stacking12321's picture

here's a couple i can think of, off the top of my head:

1) i know jim sinclair has talked about bail-in, go to:, and search for "bail-in", might need to search a little

2) mike maloney's series "hidden secrets of money" is informative, well put-together, and easy to watch and understand. doesn't deal with bail-in specifically (except maybe the most recent episode or two might mention it, dont recall), but it does give a good overall understanding as to why we may be heading into a crisis situation. here's a link to the first episode:


oh, and also chris martenson's "accelerated crash course" is a great preview into why a financial system based on continuous exponential growth (interest rates) is bound to fail in a world with finite resources:


ste123's picture

"the poor have no choice but to consume less and less."

less and less dysfunctionnal chinese plastic crap.

the middle and lower class had literaly decades to stock up, at low cost, on various quality equipements (and years of food storage + precious metals) to face, in relative confort, the previsible collapse of the system. 

Seeing my neighbours drive 40K+ (euros) brand fucking new cars and going on stupidly expensive vacations somehow deprives me from the ability to feel sorry for the formidable collapse and pain that is coming.

stacking12321's picture

so, you are envious of your neighbors and pray to your angry god that he might smite them to exctract your revenge for you?

sounds like an emotional problem.

maybe that spending is in line with their income, or maybe they got an inheritance. who are you to judge how they should spend their money?


ste123's picture

Hi stacking.  You commentary is very interesting because saying that people who don't over consume stupid stuff are envious, is the very last "argument" that hold our fake consumerism paradigm together.

if you bet that i'm envious , then i bet that paying too much for an overpriced shiny new car or trendy vacations doesn't provide any pleasure either, just barely the satisfaction of conforming and giving the illusion of enjoyement.

i don't really wish my neighbors misfortune but unfortunatly if the fabric of society begins to fissure, then they'll be unable to eat their expensive cars nor will the pictures of their vacations will be of any use.

Now for the "emotional problem" part, i can easly admit that although it is not unbearable (because i, along alot of others, can see through the childish and fake spectacle of "luxury"), i definitely am irritated ( and profoundly amazed) by the unbelievable confidence that people have in the ability of their expensive and trendy toys to confere them some kind of almost divine suporiority. Call it jealousy, i call it the perfectly acceptable little downside of having the raw pleasure of seeing the world with SOME dose of clarity.

I benefited from a inheritance a few years ago (RIP grandma) and i can assure you that  this money is not in the bank, not in an overpriced car and not in trendy "at the end of the world " vacations either.

over consumption is like a tax. In fact it is the ultimate tax and the ultimate statisme. It is a self imposed tax, from a state that is the person's very own STATE of mind.

Ste123 a french libre penseur

stacking12321's picture

sure, but there is balance in the world. if they are living beyond their means, life will teach them a lesson soon enough.

ramacers's picture

ready the blade w/intrepitude.

willie3204's picture

Hey tylers..  Looks like the japanese found even more things to tax

adr's picture

The real poor are the ones who make just over the benefit income cap and under $80k if they have any kids.

$60k is living paycheck to paycheck now with no hope of ever gaining ground. The best way to get ahead is to quit your job and make $40k less.

I can only afford one kid, pisses me off going to the mall and seeing nearly every welfare case walking around with four.

Still trying to figure out how the average home can be priced close to $350k where I now live and the majority of jobs pay around $25k. Where are the thousands and thousands of $150k jobs in the surrounding area for people to afford the homes? Could be why just about every one up for sale is vacant.

FredFlintstone's picture

1 child, nothing wrong with that. I have 4, which was my wife's idea. Taking the youngest off to college tomorrow. In his 3rd year. Everything is expensive. I live below my means and shake my head when observing the nearly constant pissing away of money by others.

My secretary was talking about taking time off to go to an amusement park with her family for 2 days. Complaining about not being able to take food in. Probably a $400 to $500 weekend all in. Maybe 1 weeks pay for her after taxes. I don't think her husband makes a lot either.

plane jain's picture

You should seriously consider moving.  There are areas where the gap between income and housing isn't quite that broad.  

Totally in agreement though that home prices are out of line most everywhere.  Roughly the average annual income times two is affordable.  

We are working on making a purchase right now and trying to stick to 2X annual income for us.  Means a 40+ year old house, under 1400 sq. ft. 1.5 baths, 1/8th of an acre lot.  Not a dream house, but what we can afford.  Family of 3 and we have roughly 1.5 times the national median income.

fireant's picture

If you aint got that Do Re Mi, folks, if you aint got that Do Re Mi...

Why, you better go back to beautiful Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Kansas, Tennessee....

AdvancingTime's picture

Today a big topic is the huge growth in inequality. Those who look closely understand that it is not the 1% at the top stealing the icing off the cake, but the much smaller .1% or .01% that are skewing the numbers and overreaching.

I contend the biggest problem is the massive growth in crony capitalism and corruption in Washington. Much of this can be attributed to the ability of those in control "changing the rules" and positioning themselves to benefit at every corner. In our busy and complex world we have found it impossible to watch all the moving parts. More on this subject in the article below.


AdvancingTime's picture

 The really big earners in recent years have benefited greatly from the surging stock prices as much of their income has come from financial markets and gains in equities. Many people seem to think this is the hope of our future.

When you have more than you need or want to put money away for a rainy day where do you store it? If you rated people on a "wealth chart" by how many tangible assets they owned you might be shocked to find much of the wealth people own is in paper and this is full of risk. More on this subject in the article below.


Long Duck Dong's picture

A poor family in MD receives benefits equivalent to 52k in income. Assuming a 4% annual return that is equivalent to being retired with 1.3 million in assets. So I can be in the bottom quintile and have the equivalent guaranteed income of a millionaire without ever working. Granted the neighborhoods you live in are shit but it doesn't take much to sweep off your front porch and clean your yard.

JR's picture

It should also be noted that non-cash benefits such as food stamps and Medicaid are not included as money income in U.S. Census Bureau statistics. That’s according to The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

And since 1970, the Center reports “cash public assistance for households that are not elderly or disabled has declined sharply, while non-cash assistance has increased substantially. “

CATO researchers found the Federal government provides 126 separate programs targeted toward low income people.

A Senate Budget Committee for 2011 shows that households below the poverty line receiving welfare payments received the equivalent of $61,320, tax free, while the median household wage for non-welfare recipients that year was $50,054, or $43,680 after taxes.

Saying it another way, welfare paid the equivalent of $30 an hour for a 40-hour week, while the average job paid $25 ($21 after taxes) an hour.”

Overall the SBC report showed that households living below the poverty line and receiving welfare payments received the equivalent of $168 per day in benefits in the form of food stamps, housing, childcare, healthcare and more.

The Cato Institute published a report in August 3013, The Work Verses Welfare Tradeoff. Left out of the study were programs such as job training assistance and child care, such as HeadStart; also left out of the calculation were the Earned Income Tax Credit (maximum cash benefit for 2014 is $6,143 for three children) and the child tax credit. Yet even with these left out of the income equation, CATO still found that “there is a significant tax penalty for those leaving welfare for work.”

NOTE: · After the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), the EITC is the largest cash or near cash assistance program targeted at low-income families. TPC estimates that more than 26 million households will receive a total of $60 billion …in 2015 (Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center Microsimulation Model, version 0613-2).

fibonacci&#039;s claus's picture

The .gov will take care of me. will tell me how to think.  They will give me obamacare and ebola vaccine.  They will expand the bus routes into my suburb and give me work downtown.  dotgov will open my borders and give me a safe terrorist free zone with battle hardened jack booted cops that will save my life and make sure I take my vitamins.  In fact dotgov will make me take piss tests to make sure im taking my vitamins.  dotgov will give me Ebooks and new editions of Mark Twains books without the word nigger.  Blessed is dotgov.

MarcusAurelius's picture

I like commenting on this because most of it is irrelevant. Say the top 20% have a mediannet worth of what the stats say which is 630K so to speak, in the North American society with its living costs not one of them has enough to retire comfortably without running out of money. Perhaps the 1% -5% but the majority? I doubt it. Might expalin why the boomers are not going into this retirement spree like most of the pundits worry about. You see even a million dollars today isn't worth that much (I can't believe that I am saying this but it is true). How far are you going to go with ultra low interest rates? Likely to stay that way longer than most people think. Going to continue to live on your +100K or more salary? I doubt it. Not without running out of funds pretty quickly. I find it ironic how most people have struggled all their lives to try to sock away something that never existed in the first place. Security. 

JoJoJo's picture


One "consolation" is that disproportionate wealth was amassed similarly up until about 1929 then pop goes the weasel.

JoJoJo's picture

Wikipedia -Perhaps because of the obscure nature of the various lyrics there have been many suggestions for what they mean, particularly the phrase "Pop! goes the weasel", including: that it is a tailor's flat iron, a dead weasel, a hatter's tool, a clock reel used for measuring in spinning,[8][11] a piece of silver plate, or that 'weasel and stoat' is Cockney rhyming slang for "coat", which is "popped" or pawned to visit, or after visiting, the Eagle pub. A clock reel is commonly called a spinner's weasel, and consists of a wheel which is revolved by the spinner in order to measure off thread or yarn after it has been produced on the spinning wheel. The weasel is usually built so that the circumference is six feet, so that 40 revolutions produces 80 yards of yarn, which is a skein. It has wooden gears inside and a cam, designed to cause a popping sound after the 40th revolution, telling the spinner that she has completed the skein

LawsofPhysics's picture

You would be surprised how fast that equity can vaporize with no rule of law.