Who Is the 1%? Well, Mostly Americans

Who Is the 1%? Well, Mostly Americans

Americans have it good.

Lately, it hasn't felt that way, what with dismal employment rates and the protestations of the 99%. But on a global scale, the United States has more than its share of fortunate citizens.

In fact, about half the world's 1% live in the U.S.


It's All Relative

According to the calculations of World Bank economist Branko Milanovic, to be in the global 1% means bringing home $34,000 per person, per year after taxes. Therefore, a family of four enters the 1% once its members bring home $136,000 per year.

Check out the infographic below, from Milanovic's book The Haves and the Have-Nots, courtesy of CNN Money: Of the 60 million members of the global 1%, 29 million of them live in the U.S. Interestingly, only a statistically insignificant portion live in some of the world's quickest-growing economies like China and India. This is because these emerging economies, whose citizens are acquiring wealth rapidly, started so far below the economies of developed countries that they still have a ways to go to enter the world's richest.

How far below? Well, the global middle class lives on a median income of $1,225 per person, per year. That means a middle-class family of four brings home about $4,900 per year. CNN Money puts things in perspective:  "Even the poorest 5% of Americans are better off financially than two-thirds of the entire world."


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