Wealth distribution statistics: how wealthy is the average American?

1 min readLast updated April 30, 2024by Rachel Carey

Find out where you fit in America’s wealth distribution landscape by looking at US wealth distribution statistics, including income inequality, gender and racial wage gaps, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Between 1989 and 2016, the wealth gap between the poorest and richest families more than doubled.  

  • The top 10% of earners hold 66.6% of total US wealth, and Baby Boomers hold most of America's wealth. 

  • US wealth distribution statistics show that men and white people are wealthier than women and racial minorities. 

What are US household income trends? 

US household income trends have long been characterized by extreme inequality.  

In 2024, we are still feeling the extremely adverse impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on earnings and income - both worldwide and in the US, as evidenced by recent US wealth distribution statistics. 

During the pandemic, lower- and middle-income households experienced faster wealth growth than upper-income households. However, wealth gaps between white households and black and Hispanic households were greater among lower-income households.  

Between 2019 and 2022, the median US household income decreased (by 2.9% to $67.5k) for the first time since 2014. The number of year-round, full-time workers also decreased by around 13.7 million. 

In Q3 2023, the top 10% of earners held 66.6% of total US wealth, proving that the minority still has the majority of wealth. 

All of this is making it increasingly difficult for Americans to save money 

What is the reality of income inequality? 

US household income trends and wage gaps vary considerably by age, gender, and race and, as mentioned, are marred by extensive and widening inequality. This is the definition of wealth distribution in America today.  

Also, in the wake of the 2007 recession and COVID-19 pandemic, earnings and income have generally taken a turn for the worse in terms of local and global wealth distribution statistics: 

  • Between 2019 and 2021, lower-income white households experienced a significant increase in net worth (up from $24,100 to $31,300), compared to no significant wealth changes for black, Hispanic and Asian households.  

  • According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the US has the highest income inequality among all G7 nations.  

The complex reasons behind this growing inequality, in addition to the Pandemic, include globalization, technological changes, tax policies, reduced bargaining power of workers, and long-standing discrimination based on race and gender.  

The rise of populist leaders around the world is also a likely contributor to economic insecurity caused by inequality. 

Indeed, the wealth gap between the richest and poorest families more than doubled between 1989 and 2016.  

In terms of wealth distribution in America, the top US earners fall into the following income brackets: 

  • Top 0.1%: $3,212,486 

  • Top 1%: $823,763 

  • Top 5%: $342,987 

  • Top 10%: $173,176 

How do you bridge the generational wealth gap? 

It is becoming increasingly difficult for younger generations to accumulate wealth due to rising living costs, high-interest rates, and unstable employment opportunities.  

Wealth distribution statistics show that Baby Boomers hold the majority of America's wealth.  

This inequality can limit economic mobility and create disparities in healthcare and education access. It can also reduce economic resilience and growth, as well as retirement preparedness. 

Improving financial literacy and leveraging technology are crucial steps in bridging this generational wealth gap and leveling out US wealth distribution statistics. 

Exploring gender and racial wealth gaps 

Global wealth distribution statistics show a considerable wealth gap between the genders and among different racial groups.  

As a rule, men and white people enjoy greater wealth than women and racial minorities. 

What is the gender wealth gap? 

There are various reasons for the unequal wealth distribution between genders. These include factors like differences in pay based on gender and slower career progression, resulting in less money for women. 

Interestingly, the difference in wealth between genders is greater than the difference in wages. Female-headed families have just 55 cents in median wealth for every dollar of male-headed families. 

Upon retirement, women are expected to accumulate 26% less wealth than men will. 

Childless women between 25 and 44 are more likely to be employed than mothers of the same age. Mothers often work fewer hours than women without children, potentially resulting in lower earnings for some mothers.  

What is the racial wealth gap? 

A significant wealth gap exists among different races in the US. These uneven US wealth distribution statistics can be traced back to a long history of discriminatory policies that have prevented people of color from accumulating wealth:  

For every dollar of wealth owned by a white household, black households have only 13 cents, and LatinX households have only 19 cents.  

Other racial groups such as Asian, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and others also have less wealth than white families. White families are also much more likely to inherit wealth compared to black and LatinX families.  

In 2022, the Forbes 400 list had only two black men and 56 women, which means 85% of the list comprises white men.  

How do you address the challenges of wealth redistribution? 

While achieving an equal distribution of wealth would be greatly beneficial for social and economic development, finding practical solutions can be challenging.  

Several proposals have been suggested to address the inequality shown in US wealth distribution statistics, such as promoting unionization and increasing the minimum wage, making the tax code more progressive, taxing wealth along with income, and improving access to education. 

Get expert financial advice 

Looking at US wealth distribution statistics, a much clearer picture emerges of the challenges and causes of increasing income inequality and strategies to remedy this. Knowing how your finances compare to those of the average household can help you understand what financial goals are achievable for you.  

For expert financial advice, let Unbiased match you with a financial advisor who can help you reach your long-term financial objectives. 

Senior Content Writer

Rachel Carey

Rachel is a Senior Content Writer at Unbiased. She has nearly a decade of experience writing and producing content across a range of different sectors.