The number of wealthy households inducted into the Millionaires’ Club between 2008 and 2013 is insane — about three million families gained a net worth of $1 million, according to Time. That’s a 58 percent increase in just five years!
The U.S. now stands with a record number of millionaires with 9.63 million coined up households, according to a study by Spectrem Group. In just one year, by the end of 2013, millionaire households skyrocketed by seven percent; this is an added 640,000 households to the Millionaires’ Club!
This is the first time America’s richest has surpassed 2007’s pre-Great Recession peak of 9.2 million. The middle class, on the other hand, has yet to beat their 1999 record of $56,080, according to USA Today. In 2008, when the US economy stagnated, the number of millionaires dipped down to 6.7 million. But now, America’s most affluent seems to have shaken off the detrimental affects of the recession.
“The last few years, we’ve seen the number continually increase, but this was the first year that we’re finally beyond the economic crisis,” explained George Walper, Jr., President of Spectrem Group.
For the richest of the rich, they’ve seen some pretty good numbers, too. Households with a net worth of over $25 million or more jumped from 125,000 in 2007 to 132,000 last year.
So why has there been a spike of wealth for America’s one percent? “Because of their levels of wealth, they increased their exposure to equities during the downturn and were making investments in real estate when the market was at the bottom,” Walper Jr. added. “That’s why now they’ve benefited the most from the return in the economy.”
This is great news for the millionaires of course, as well as the luxury car and home industry; BMW, Mercedes, and Audi all reported record sales in 2013 while luxury real estate has seen some significant growth, too. But for the rest of America, the widening income gap isn’t as peachy.
According to ThinkProgress, “…this period of high income inequality has led to an incredibly harsh economic environment for the poor and middle class.” Americans on the lower end of the economic totem pole have seen decline in social mobility while their long-term financial growth have stagnated.
Between 2009 and 2012, USA Today adds, the rest of us have only seen a puny .04 percent increase in wealth. Meanwhile, the one percent bathed in a 31 percent surge.
“Inequality is needed to reward hard work, talent and innovation. But a wealth gap that’s too wide is usually unhealthy. It can slow economic growth, in part because richer Americans save more of their income than do others. Pay concentrated at the top is less likely to be spent,” wrote Christopher S. Rugaber and Josh Boak, AP business writers.