Household Wealth At or Below Zero for 1 in 5 Americans

Nov 13, 2017 | News

New findings by the Institute for Policy Studies detail the growing wealth gap in the United States and the struggles many Americans face building wealth in the modern economy. The report noted that the three wealthiest people in America, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffet, now control more wealth than the bottom 50% of the nation. It found that 19% of American households had a zero or negative net worth, meaning their debts cancelled out or exceeded their assets and savings.


The study highlighted racial differences in wealth accumulation. While only 14% of white households maintained a zero or negative net worth, around 30% of black households and 27% of Hispanic households were in a similar financial situation. The proposed Congressional tax plan is projected to favor wealthier families at the expense of those working to build wealth.


To help close the gap and aide Americans with limited wealth, the Institute recommends taxing wealthier households and putting that money into wealth-building programs in underserved communities. The think tank also encourages employee ownership, matching savings programs, and other similar household savings tools.

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