Personal income is always a hot topic. And more so today. Given the rate of inflation, the use of contract workers rather than employees, and other factors. A much-debated aspect of income levels is the disparity between the highest and lowest earners. For current information, we examine perceived vs. actual U.S. incomes.
First, take a look at these complementary articles:
- Analysis Shows an MBA Is Worth the Cost.
- Celebrity Influencers Make Big Bucks on Instagram.
- How to Survive a Financial Crisis According to Entrepreneurs.
- Looking Ahead to 2030.
Results from a YouGov Survey: Perceived Vs. Actual U.S. Incomes
According to YouGov, Americans believe that ten percent of households in their country have an annual income of more than $1 million. As our results show, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
In reality, less than 0.5 percent earn that much per year when taking into consideration data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The difference between perception and facts becomes even more pronounced when looking at households with an annual income of more than $500,000. While the median weighted responses from survey participants suggest that one-fifth of U.S. households belong to that bracket, it’s actually the oft-cited top 1%. On the other hand, Americans overestimate the share of people having to scrape by with less than $25,000 per year. Instead of the perceived 35 percent who earn less than $25,000, the share stood at 18 percent in 2020.
When it comes to wealth instead of income, survey participant perceptions hit closer to home. For example, roughly 22 million people in the U.S. had a net worth of more than $1 million in 2020, which amounts to about seven percent of the population of the United States. Out of the 130 million households in the U.S., 13.6 million were considered to have accumulated wealth of more than $1 million, excluding their primary residence, according to data from Spectrem Group. As of the third quarter of 2021, the top 1% held about 32 percent of all wealth in the United States, up nine percent from three decades prior.