In this post, we’ll look at the United States Net Worth Brackets for 2017. This data is for the Federal Reserve’s estimate of 126.0 million households in 2016. We also include wealth brackets for selected percentiles, and a section zooming into the net worth of the one percent for the most recent 2017 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finance data.
Selected United States Wealth Brackets for 2017 and 2014
We’ve selected some commonly examined net worth brackets for 2017 and 2014. This data comes from Federal Reserve Surveys of Consumer Finances, and surveys were first conducted the previous year. Stated simply, data is from wealth snapshots at sometime in 2016 and 2013, respectively.
Just as in our US Income Percentiles article, please note the data is not longitudinal. In short, that means the surveys aren’t answered by the same families in 2013 and 2016. It’s impossible to draw specific conclusions on the net worth changes for households in 2013 households. It is, however, possible to see how the static snapshot of net worth distribution changes (or, as the case may be, for inequality measures).
Still, there is a lot to like in the distribution itself. Unlike the recent income percentile breakdown, every Wealth Bracket saw an improvement between 2013 and 2016. That’s right – across the board, at a percentile resolution, the wealth dollar breakpoint for all net worth brackets increased.
The above chart is a log scale; here are the absolute changes for the top 5% of wealth brackets:
|Net Worth Percentile||2013 SCF||2016 SCF||Change in Breakpoint||Increase|
Selected Net Worth Brackets and Percentiles for the United States in 2016
There are 126.0 million households in the United States (Federal Reserve estimate). For selected percentiles, the following is net worth brackets and breakpoints:
|Net Worth Percentile||2016 Dollar Cutoff|
Dollar estimates are for the actual net worth quantile breakpoint. For example, if someone had exactly $279,594.27 in wealth we’d estimate they are the 70th percentile. And yes, we calculated standard errors for these (with a 95% confidence interval) that we aren’t going to release. It’s worth computing the numbers yourself for any scenario you’d need them – see the Methodology section below.
Zooming in on the One Percent in 2016: Who Were the 1% By Net Worth?
In 2016, we estimate that you need $10,374,030.10 in wealth to be in the top one percent. To be in the top 10%, you’d need $1,182,390.36. Here’s a look at our estimates for the wealth of the top one percent in the United States in 2016:
|Net Worth Percentile||2016 Dollar Cutoff|
For the top .5% and .1% note that our estimates are hazier – consider our 95% confidence interval to be over a million dollars in either direction. Again, though, the .5% and .1% estimates are in the right ballpark of Emmanual Saez and Gabriel Zucman’s estimates for 2012 with four years of growth in between.
Methodology for 2016 United States Net Worth Brackets
Data for this article comes from the 2013 and 2016 Surveys of Consumer Finances from the Federal Reserve. Special thanks is owed to Anthony Damico for his lodown package for R, which we are using to analyze the 2013 and 2016 datasets. Please see his Analyze Survey Data Free book which details SCF analysis and more in R.
As mentioned, the Federal Reserve estimates a representative size of 125,981,700 United States households for this survey. The 2016 survey includes 6,254 families in the private dataset. The public dataset removes 6 families (leaving 6,248) for privacy purposes. The Fed sweeps data for privacy by releasing ‘separate’ datasets with replicate weights for all the variables. Our estimates are using the linear interpolation algorithm in the svyquantile function from the R survey package.
See the Analyze Survey Data book for more information; for going beyond the data you see it’s worth pulling down the dataset on your own.
Other notes: net worth does not include periodic income streams such as pensions or Social Security. Perhaps a future article will attempt to account for these; watch this space, if we model income streams as net worth in the future we’ll link out.
Conclusions on United States Net Worth Brackets for 2017
Some thoughts: it’s heartening to see the across the board improvements in every net worth bracket. While the broadest gains went to breakpoints on the top centiles, we saw improvement all over the map. The last three years were special in that sense, let’s hope for an even greater improvement in 2019.