Wealth in The United States

Wealth in the United States is commonly measured in terms of net worth, which is the sum of all assets, including home equity, minus all liabilities.

For example, a household in possession of an $800,000 house, $5,000 in mutual funds, $30,000 in cars, $20,000 worth of stock in their own company, and a $45,000 IRA would have assets totaling $900,000. Assuming that this household would have a $250,000 mortgage, $40,000 in car loans, and $10,000 in credit card debt, its debts would total $300,000. Subtracting the debts from the worth of this household's assets (900,000 - $300,000 = $600,000), this household would have a net worth of $600,000. Net worth can vary with fluctuations in value of the underlying assets.

The wealth—more specifically, the median net worth—of households in the United States is varied with relation to race, education, geographic location and gender. As one would expect, households with greater income feature the highest net worths, though high income cannot be taken as an always accurate indicator of net worth. Overall the number of wealthier households is on the rise, with baby boomers hitting the highs of their careers. In addition, wealth is unevenly distributed, with the wealthiest 25% of US households owning 87% of the wealth in the United States, which was $54.2 trillion in 2009.

Including human capital such as skills, the United Nations estimated the total wealth of the United States in 2008 to be $118 trillion.

Read more about Wealth In The United States:  Income Vs. Wealth, Changes in Wealth, 1989–2001, Mechanisms To Gain Wealth, Wealth Distribution, See Also

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