COVID drove statistics crazy and widened income gaps by “blessing” the fortunes of the few: Jeff Bezos saw his fortune increase by 64% in 2020 to $ 188.5 billion
The 50 richest Americans own – at the moment – as much wealth as half of Americans: the outbreak of the pandemic has transformed the economy, but has disproportionately more rewarding the multi-billion dollar class.
New US Federal Reserve wealth data for the first half of 2020 show strong differences by race, age and class, with 1% of Americans having a total net worth of $ 34.2 trillion, while 50% – about 165 million citizens – own just $ 2.08 trillion, or 1.9% of total household wealth.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the 50 richest people in the United States are worth almost $ 2 trillion, an increase of $ 339 billion since the beginning of 2020.
The outbreak of the pandemic has intensified inequalities in the US, with job losses coming mainly from low-wage workers, and according to statistics, the coronavirus is more deadly to citizens of different colors.
Meanwhile, many upper- and middle-class professionals are working from home, watching their retirement accounts rise in value following the fiscal stimulus caused by the actions of the US Treasury Department and the US Federal Reserve.
Another major reason for wealth inequality is that the vast majority of Americans do not benefit from rising stock prices.
Official data from the US Federal Reserve show that the richest 1% owns more than 50% of the equity in companies and mutual fund shares, with the richest 9% holding more than a third of equity – which means that the 10% of Americans own more than 88% of the shares.
According to the same data, the generation of millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, controls only 4.6% of US wealth, although it is the largest in the workforce with 72 million members. It is also noteworthy that the share of wealth held by African Americans is exactly at the same level as 30 years ago.
Like the country as a whole, the wealth of young Americans is concentrated in just a few hands, that is, in three millennials – Facebook co-founders Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovic, along with Walmart heiress Lucas Walton – personally control one in 40 dollars held by their generation.
“The pandemic is widening the gap between wealth and economic mobility,” US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Tuesday, warning that the country’s recovery would be weakened without further government assistance. “A long period of unnecessarily slow progress could continue to exacerbate existing inequalities in our economy.”
In a recent speech, US President Donald Trump told negotiators to halt talks with congressional Democrats on an additional bailout package until the November election.
Those whose fortunes are linked to tech companies – which have benefited from the shift in work, shopping, entertainment and social networking online – were among the biggest winners during the pandemic. The protagonist is the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, whose fortune is the largest in the world and increased by 64% in 2020 to $ 188.5 billion.
White Americans hold 83.9% of the country’s wealth, compared with 4.1% of African Americans, the figures show, while the share of white Americans may have declined slightly overall, the proportion of African-Americans remains at the same rate as in 1990.
Of the 25 richest Americans, only one is not white – Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom Video Communications, whose fortune has increased sevenfold this year to $ 24.2 billion.
The over-65s make up the majority of US wealth, at $ 59.6 trillion, double of Generation X at $ 28.5 trillion and more than 10 times the $ 5.2 trillion of millennials.
Data from the US Federal Reserve show that Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980, has made some progress in building wealth in recent years, doubling their collective net worth since mid-2016.
It is not uncommon for younger age groups to be significantly poorer than older ones. Nevertheless, millennials lag far behind previous generations of the same age. In 1989, when the average age was 34, the generation controlled more than 21% of US wealth. Similarly, millennials, with an average age of 32, should quadruple their share of wealth over the next two years.
The US Federal Reserve estimates that 10% of US households own 69% of the country’s wealth, or $ 77.3 trillion, up from 60.9% in the late 1980s. Richer Americans are almost entirely responsible for this profit. 1% held 30.5% of US wealth in June, up from 23.7% at the end of 1989, while the share of the minimum wage fell from 3.6% to 1.9%.