A report released recently by the Federal Reserve Board provided evidence that the gap between the richest American families and all others is getting wider.
The Survey of Consumer Finances, conducted by the Federal Reserve Board every three years, reported last week that the wealth share held by the top 3 percent totaled 54.4 percent in 2013, a number that has climbed from 51.8 percent in 2007 (before the recession) and from 44.8 percent in 1989.
The wealth shares held by the next highest 7 percent of families has changed little over the last 25 years, according to the survey, fluctuating between 19 and 22 percent. The total for the 2013 survey was 20.9 percent.
The survey reported that the increasing wealth share by the 10 percent of families coincided with the declining share of the bottom 90 percent over the same 25-year period. The wealth share of the bottom 90 percent was 24.7 in 2013, down from 33.2 percent in 1989.
Between the 2010 and 2013 surveys, overall average family income (known as the mean income) grew by 4 percent, but the median income declined by 5 percent. According to the survey, nearly all age groups saw a decline in median income during the three-year period; the only exceptions were the 34 to 44 age group, which saw a 6 percent increase, and the 65 to 74 group, which saw no change. These two groups saw substantial increases in mean income; for 35 to 44, mean income rose by 18 percent; for 65 to 74, it jumped up by 22 percent.
Home ownership declined from 2010 to 2013; in 2013, 65.2 percent of the population owned a primary residence, falling from 67.3 percent in 2010. The percentage of home ownership has declined with each SCF survey since 2004, when 69.1 percent of people in the U.S. owned a primary residence.
The rate of civilian unemployment took a dive from 9.9 percent to 7.5 percent from 2010 to 2013 and real gross domestic product increased by 2.1 percent annually from 2010 to 2013. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) averaged an annual rate of change of 2.3 percent.