Who Are the Top 1% In America?
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Who Are the Top 1% In America?

A question we must address when talking about income inequality.

5304
Who Are the Top 1% In America?
https://3rdeyedrops.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/dangling

Regardless of political affiliation, it seems that a majority of Americans can at least agree on this: the middle class is disappearing and the top 1% receives a majority of the wealth. The wealth disparity is undeniable. Some communities are populated by McMansions with luxury cars parked in the driveway, and a few miles away are impoverished communities where families struggle to make ends meet. Caught in the middle are workers who are losing benefits and employee status in an increasingly competitive job market. However, despite the public outcry, there doesn't seem to be much discussion on certain aspects of the issue. Before we can propose solutions, we first need to ask who the top 1% actually are.

Intuitively, we understand that the top 1% refers to Americans with the highest income, the greatest amount of wealth. The phrase evokes images of lavish luxuries, decadent lifestyles, and white men in suits puppeteering politicians. However, if you actually Google the question, "who are the top 1% in America" the first articles that come up are from 2012 and 2014. For an issue that impassions us so intensely, the lack of recent articles on the matter is odd, to the say the least.

To better understand who is being referred to when someone talks about the wealthiest people in the nation, we need to do a little bit of math. The U.S. population is around 330 million, give or take, and 1% of that is 3.3 million. There isn't a list of the 3.3 million people who have the highest net worth in America (nor am I suggesting that there should be), but there is a list of the top 0.0001%, the Forbes 400.

On the list, you can see exactly who the members of the top 0.0001% are, and a majority of those people aren't despised figures. They are cultural icons, such as Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Elon Musk. They are revered, glorified, and have made great contributions to society, some of which that have revolutionized our daily lives. However, that being said, it doesn't change the fact that the Forbes 400 have a combined net worth of $2.29 trillion (for reference, the U.S. GDP is about $17 trillion, which means their wealth is equivalent to 13% of the U.S. GDP).

I'm not insinuating that Americans should rally together and storm the homes of billionaires with torches and pitchforks. Rather, the attitude towards wealth disparity in America should go beyond bitterness and cynicism and, frankly, hypocrisy. If the top 1% are the source of corruption and economic strife, why are they considered exemplary of the American dream? Would taking away Bill Gates' billions truly remove the barriers for economic mobility? It's questions like these that we must ask and have addressed. The conversation about income inequality needs to continue and grow and then move beyond discussion to decisive actions.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee
nappy.co

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

92429
college students waiting in a long line in the hallway
StableDiffusion

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less
a man and a woman sitting on the beach in front of the sunset

Whether you met your new love interest online, through mutual friends, or another way entirely, you'll definitely want to know what you're getting into. I mean, really, what's the point in entering a relationship with someone if you don't know whether or not you're compatible on a very basic level?

Consider these 21 questions to ask in the talking stage when getting to know that new guy or girl you just started talking to:

Keep Reading...Show less
Lifestyle

Challah vs. Easter Bread: A Delicious Dilemma

Is there really such a difference in Challah bread or Easter Bread?

70967
loaves of challah and easter bread stacked up aside each other, an abundance of food in baskets
StableDiffusion

Ever since I could remember, it was a treat to receive Easter Bread made by my grandmother. We would only have it once a year and the wait was excruciating. Now that my grandmother has gotten older, she has stopped baking a lot of her recipes that require a lot of hand usage--her traditional Italian baking means no machines. So for the past few years, I have missed enjoying my Easter Bread.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments