Feature

Inequality
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Wealth

Incomes and wages are not the only places we find staggering inequality. Wealth—also called net worth, measured as assets less liabilities—is skewed heavily, not only to the rich, but to the richest of the rich.  Starting with the bottom fifth of the wealth distribution is a group that has negative wealth (in other words, on average, the least wealthy 20% of people in this country owe more than the value of their assets). From there, wealth increases dramatically by wealth class.

By any measure, household wealth is far higher for whites than blacks.  Within each group, comparing the median—i.e., the mid-point of the wealth distribution—with average wealth illustrates just how skewed the wealth distribution is. A relatively small number of people with very high wealth at the top pull the overall average upward, often masking the far lower wealth of the typical household.

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