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Are you in the top 1%? Here’s how much money you need to earn in US

Megan Henney

One measuring stick used to evaluate individual wealth is whether or not you rank among the top 1 percent of income earners in the U.S.

According to recent Federal Reserve data, the wealthiest Americans owned about $36.8 trillion in assets before the coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020. That's just shy of the $37.7 trillion in assets by the tens of millions of people who make up the 50th percentile to the 90th percentile of predominantly middle-class Americans.

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It may not be long before the size of the wealth controlled by the top 1 percent passes that of the middle class. Between the third and fourth quarters of 2019, the top 1 percent's wealth grew by more than $1.5 trillion, while Americans in the 50th to 90th percentiles saw a $570 billion spike.

In order to be considered part of the top 1 percent in the U.S., you need to earn about $488,000, according to a recent analysis conducted by Bloomberg News. Unsurprisingly, that number varies significantly across the world. For instance, in Australia, individuals need to earn about half of that to be part of the wealthiest group.

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In 2018, the median household income in the U.S. was $63,200, according to the Census Bureau. The median income of men was $55,300, compared to $45,100 for women.

To be part of the top 0.1 percent, you would need to earn $2.4 million in 2017, an increase of 38 percent since 2011, when Occupy Wall Street Protesters rallied under the slogan "We are the 99%," according to Internal Revenue Service data.

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Economic Institute Policy data found the income levels needed to qualify for the top 1 percent vary state by state. For instance, an individual would need to earn $700,800 a year in Connecticut but just $371,811 in Georgia.

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