America’s top 1% get $2 trillion richer

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The combined wealth of the richest people in the US has grown to $44.6 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve

The wealthiest Americans got even richer last year and now possess $44.6 trillion in combined assets, thanks to the skyrocketing stock market, CNBC reported on Thursday, citing new data from the Federal Reserve.

The Federal Reserve defines America’s top 1% as those with personal wealth amounting to more than $11 million. In the fourth quarter of last year, they saw their combined net worth rise by around $2 trillion, according to CNBC.

The rise was largely the result of a stock market rally at the end of the year, as the value of corporate equities and mutual fund shares held by the richest US citizens skyrocketed from $17.65 trillion to $19.7 trillion.

Middle-class Americans also reportedly saw their wealth increase, but Federal Reserve data indicates that the wealthiest 1% are the primary beneficiaries of the stock market rally, since the market gains remain heavily concentrated in the hands of the richest. The top 10% of Americans own 87% of individually held stocks and mutual funds, according to CNBC, while the top 1% hold half of it and account for 30% of the combined wealth.

The quarterly gain adds to a boom that began in 2020 with the Covid-19 pandemic market surge, CNBC says. Since that time, the net worth of the top 1% has risen by around $15 trillion – almost 50%. 

Inequality, which was in decline in 2021 and 2022, began growing again in 2023, the media outlet said, noting that the wealth gap returned to pre-pandemic levels.

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