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Inequality

Household Income Distribution in the U.S. Visualized as 100 Homes

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U.S. household income distribution visualization

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Household Income Distribution in the U.S. Visualized as 100 Homes

Income inequality and wealth disparity have been frequent topics of conversation, even before the pandemic upended the economy.

Now, rising inflation and interest rates, and a possible recession on the horizon are bringing these societal divides into sharp focus.

In the above visualization, U.S. households are parsed out into a neighborhood of 100 homes and then grouped by income brackets, using recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Neighborhood Breakdown

American households vary widely on their respective incomes. The largest cluster of homes, representing nearly 20% of all American households, are in the $25-$49.9k income bracket.

Here’s a look at the share of households in each income bracket and the number of homes they represent.

Household IncomeShare of TotalNumber of Homes
Under $25K18.1%18
$25K-$49.9K19.7%20
$50K-$74.9K16.5%17
$75K-99.9K12.2%12
$100K-$149.9K15.3%15
$150k-$199.9K8.0%8
Over $200K10.3%10

In our hypothetical neighborhood, 18 of the households are in the lowest income bracket. People in this category have a wide variety of jobs, but personal care aides, cashiers, food and beverage positions are some of the most common. As a point of reference, the poverty line for a family of four currently sits at $26,496.

On the flip side, in this small community of 100 houses, 33 earn six figures and typically have at least one family member in a corporate or medical role.

The American Middle Class

The middle class in America has shrunk significantly in the past 50 years, going from 61% of adults being middle income in 1971 to 50% in 2021.

Here’s a look at the economic class breakdowns by annual household income, based on households with three people (Note: the average U.S. household has 2.6 people):

  • Upper class: >$156,000
  • Middle class:  $52,000-$156,000
  • Lower class: <$52,000

Although these definitions and conditions don’t align exactly with the buckets we use in the main houses visualization, they come pretty close.

In the neighborhood of 100 homes, 38 homes could be considered low income, while 18 are high income. Meanwhile, sitting in the $50-149.9k middle range of household income are 44 homes.

The Larger Trends

The pandemic had an extremely adverse impact on earnings and income worldwide, and the U.S. was no exception.

Median household income decreased 2.9% to $67.5k between 2019 and 2020, the first decrease since 2014. Additionally, the number of people who worked full-time jobs, year-round decreased by around 13.7 million.

That said, when looking at the longer-term trend, the median income for those considered middle class has jumped by 50% over the last five decades. Here’s a look at the median incomes in each economic class in 1970 vs. 2020:

1970 Median Household Income (in 2020 $)2020 Median Household Income% Change
Low Income$20,604$29,96345%
Middle Income$59,934$90,13150%
Upper Income$130,008$219,57269%

With a recession⁠ highly likely to occur in the U.S., and rising inflation causing increases in the cost of basic, everyday goods, budgets may get tighter for many households in America, and incomes are likely to be impacted as well.

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Wealth

Visualizing the World’s Growing Millionaire Population (2012-2022)

The world’s millionaire population has more than doubled in the last decade between 2012 and 2022. We visualize these numbers here.

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growth of global millionaire population

Visualizing the World’s Growing Millionaire Population

Reaping the rewards of tech revolutions, market booms, and more, the last decade has seen a remarkable increase in the global number of millionaires.

In 2022, 1.1% of all of the world’s adults were millionaires, up from 0.6% in 2012.

In today’s visualization, we dive into the world’s growing millionaire population using data from this year’s Global Wealth Report by Credit Suisse.

The Global Millionaire Population, Then and Now

In 2022, total millionaire wealth stood at $208.3 trillion, accounting for 45.8% of global wealth. That represents a 138% increase from 2011, when millionaires held $87.5 trillion in wealth.

While the rise can be attributed to a number of factors, financial assets have accounted for most of the increase in total wealth since the 2008 Financial Crisis, according to Credit Suisse.

Here’s a look at the explosive growth in the number of millionaires from 2012 to 2022:

Wealth rangeNumber of adults (2012)Number of adults (2022)
$1-5M25.6 million51.5 million
$5-10M1.9 million5.1 million
>$10M1.0 million2.8 million 

At the very apex of these pyramids, the number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (all holding $50 million or more in wealth) has nearly tripled over the last decade.

Where are the world’s millionaires mostly found?

  • 42%: North America
  • 27%: Europe
  • 16%: Asia-Pacific (ex. China and India)
  • 10%: China
  • 5%: Rest of the World

In total, the world’s millionaire population amounted to 59.4 million adults in 2022.

Despite inflation, interest rates, and current market conditions hampering wealth creation for many in 2022 and 2023, Credit Suisse forecasts that the number of millionaires will still grow to 86 million by 2027, a 45% increase from 2022.

The Outlook for Wealth Inequality

Although wealth inequality fell slightly in 2022, a significant chunk of overall global wealth still belongs to the wealthiest parts of the population.

In stark contrast to millionaires, 52.5% of the world’s adults had less than $10,000 in wealth, and combined for just 1.2% of global wealth.

From a big picture perspective, however, worldwide wealth inequality has trended downward over the last two decades. That is, before the 2020–2021 period when the wealth gap was exacerbated due to the pandemic and the subsequent boom in share and house prices.

Looking ahead to 2027, Credit Suisse forecasts that the share of adults with less than $10,000 in wealth will fall, with more adults moving into the middle and upper income levels. It’ll be interesting to see if global wealth inequality continues its long-term downward trajectory.

Where does this data come from?

Source: Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report (2022 and 2012 versions)

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