'Wealth Gap' Keeps Widening with Poorest Households Getting Poorer in Past Decade

The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

That’s what the U.S. Census Bureau said Thursday in an analysis of median net worth between 2000 and 2011 for U.S. households
Putting it a different way: The wealth gap between widened between those at the top — and those in the middle and bottom.
Median household net worth decreased by $5,124 for households in the first (bottom) net worth quintile and increased by $61,379 (or 11 percent) for those in the highest (top) quintile.
Median net worth increased between 2000 and 2011 for households in the top two quintiles of the net worth distribution (the wealthiest 40 percent).
But median net worth declined for those in the lower three quintiles (the bottom 60 percent), according to new statistics from the Census Bureau. Each quintile represents 20 percent, or one-fifth, of all households.
‘Median Net Worth’ Gap Widens
Here’s an example of the widening gap: Median net worth of households in the highest quintile was 39.8 times higher than the second lowest quintile in 2000, and it rose to 86.8 times higher in 2011.
“The types of assets that households hold may vary,” Census Bureau economist Alfred Gottschalck said. “Therefore, business cycle changes over time may affect households differently based on their net worth quintile and demographic characteristics.”
The report also details a widening of the wealth gap for households sharing the same demographic characteristics, such as age, race and Hispanic origin, and educational attainment of the householder.
For example, the median net worth for non-Hispanic whites in the highest quintile was 21.8 times higher than for those in the second-lowest quintile in 2000; in 2011, this had increased to 31.5 times higher.
For blacks, the ratio increased from 139.9 to 328.1, and for Hispanics, the increase was from 158.4 to 220.9.

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