NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

A Millionaire On Every Corner

March 3, 2000

America's high-flying stock markets are creating fortunes right and left. Large numbers of heretofore average wage earners are becoming millionaires. Very few of the newly rich inherit their money anymore. Most likely it stems from their entrepreneurial activities.

Here are some of the astonishing figures:

  • The number of households with a net worth of more than $10 million has grown fourfold in the last decade -- from about 67,700 to almost 350,000, according to New York University economics professor Edward Wolff.
  • The number of households with net worth of $1 million or more has more than doubled since 1983 -- to total five million today.
  • Among those households holding the top 1 percent of assets, 5 percent are headed by someone 35 years of age or younger -- compared to only 0.7 percent in 1983.
  • Forbes magazine identified 267 Americans with a net worth of more than $1 billion last year -- while it could find just 13 in 1982.

There has been a geographic shift in wealth also. In the 1980s, the rich usually were the product of Hollywood or Wall Street. Now they are concentrated in Silicon Valley.

Source: Laura M. Holson, "Nothing Left to Buy," New York Times, March 3, 2000.


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