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The rich and the poor: demographics of the U.S. wealth distribution

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  • John C. Weicher

Abstract

In this article, John C. Weicher extends his 1995 and 1996 reports on the distribution of U.S. wealth to present a detailed examination of the demographics of the richest and poorest households. He concludes that concern over the concentration of wealth should be tempered by the apparent fact that "the rich" are a changing group, even over short periods of time. Among his other interesting findings is the observation that most of our nation's rich are entrepreneurs in the American tradition. Less than 8 percent of the net worth of households in the richest 1 percent comes from inheritance, and more than half of the richest households did not inherit anything.

Suggested Citation

  • John C. Weicher, 1997. "The rich and the poor: demographics of the U.S. wealth distribution," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 25-37.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlrv:y:1997:i:jul:p:25-37
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    File URL: https://files.stlouisfed.org/files/htdocs/publications/review/97/07/9707jw.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John C. Weicher, 1995. "Changes in the distribution of wealth: increasing inequality?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 5-23.
    2. Robert B. Avery & Gregory E. Elliehausen, 1986. "Financial characteristics of high-income families," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Mar, pages 163-177.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eisenhauer, Joseph G., 2011. "The rich, the poor, and the middle class: Thresholds and intensity indices," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 294-304, December.

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    Keywords

    Wealth ; Income distribution ; Demography;

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