WASHINGTON (Web Desk) – A new study by the Institute for Policy Studies has claimed that the richest 20 Americans, with a combined net worth of $732billion, are as wealthy as half of the U.S. population, Daily Mail reported.
According to the study the country’s 20 wealthiest people, which includes Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, now have more wealth than the bottom half of the population combined or 152 million people.
The study by the Institute for Policy Studies also found that America’s wealthiest 400, with a combined net worth of $2.34trillion, own more wealth than that of a staggering 194 million people – the bottom 61 per cent of the country combined.
The Forbes 400 own more wealth than 36 million typical American families – equal to the number of households that own cats, according to the study
Among the 20 wealthiest Americans are eight founders of corporations, nine heirs, two investors and a casino mogul.
The list includes Gates of Microsoft, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and four Waltons who are heirs of Wal-Mart.
The report, which was published on Tuesday, also found that instead of resembling a pyramid, America’s wealth distribution now resembles the shape of Seattle’s Space Needle.
‘The bulge at the top of our wealth “space needle” reflects America’s wealthiest 0.1 per cent, the top one-thousandth of our population, an estimated 115,000 households with a net worth starting at $20million,’ the study said.
The study said that the U.S. has a persistent racial wealth divide, ‘the result of a multi-generational legacy of discrimination in asset building that began during slavery’
A second proposed solution is to implement policies that will reduce concentrated wealth such as ‘seriously taxing our wealthiest households’.
According to the study, the median American family has a net worth of $81,000.
Findings in the study also showed that America’s wealthiest 100 households own about as much wealth as the nation’s entire African-American population combined.
The study also reported that there are only two African Americans among the Forbes 400, Oprah Winfrey and Robert Smith, and only five Latinos including Jorge Perez, Arturo Moreno and three members of the Santo Domingo family.