Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Growing age wealth gap

Much has been written about income inequality and how much better off the top 1% are compared to the bottom 99%.  Now we have a first look at generational income inequality.  If you wonder why the youth of America are so angry, the results of a new study provide part of the answer.

A Pew Research report being prepared for a special congressional committee to be released on November 23rd is expected to show a growing gap between the net worth of Americans 65 or older compared to Americans 35 and younger.  The median net worth of older Americans has increased 42% since 1984 while the median net worth of younger Americans has declined by 68%.  As the table below shows, the net worth of all American households headed by Americans 54 or younger regardless of age bracket has declined by 10% or more since 1984.

Additionally, older Americans have suffered less from the recession.  While median net worth of all American households declined 28% between 2005 and 2009, the median net worth of those 65 and older declined just 6%.  Those 35 and younger saw their net worth decline by more than half.  22% of younger Americans now live in poverty (up from 12% in 1967) compared to only 11% of those over 65 (down from 33% in 1967).

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