Median Household Net Worth, by Net Worth Quintiles: 2000 to 2011. All dollar figures are in 2011 constant dollars. The inflation adjustment factor of 1.34 was used to convert 2000 figures into 2011 dollars. Median net worth statistics within quintiles of the net worth distribution are at the 10th, 30th, 50th, 70th, and 90th percentiles. The first, or the bottom, net worth quintile includes households with zero or negative net worth. Net worth may be zero or negative because a household’s gross wealth is zero or because the value of a household’s liabilities exceeds the value of its assets. Due to weighting, the median of the third quintile may not exactly match the median of the overall net worth (or debt) distribution. Graphic: Vornovitsky, et al., 2014

By Robert Frank   
21 Aug 2014

(CNBC) – The gap between the wealthiest and the poorest Americans widened over the past decade, according to a new report from the Census Bureau. It also grew between younger and older families.

The report on household net worth showed that median net worth for the country as a whole declined by 6.8 percent between 2000 and 2011, to $68,828 from $73,874, in constant 2011 dollars. But the results varied dramatically by wealth group.

Those in the bottom quintile, or lowest 20 percent, had a negative median net worth of $6,029 in 2011, compared with negative $905 in 2000. Those in the second-lowest quintile saw their assets drop by nearly half, to a median of $7,263 in 2011 from $14,319 in 2000.

Those in the top quintile, however, saw their net worth grow by more than 10 percent, to $630,754, over the same period. While the report doesn't give a reason for the diverging paths, wealthy families have benefited more from the rise in stock markets and rebounding home values, while those at the bottom are still feeling the impact of high unemployment. [more]

Wealth gap widened between rich and poor, young and old

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