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What Is The Net Worth Of The Top 5%

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 8 minute read

More than merely subtracting liabilities from assets, understanding net worth in the United States requires more than simply subtracting assets from liabilities. Wealth and income are examined through a wide range of lenses ranging from age and education to race and ethnicity to homeownership and family size, across states and regions.

Data on net worth and its components has been collected by the Federal Reserve since 1989 as part of the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). This study, which occurs every three years, provides a snapshot of the level of wealth in the United States, allowing us to analyze economic well-being and knotty issues of income inequality, as well as developments through time. 2019 is the most current year for the SCF.
Let’s dig further into this wealth of data and see what we can learn from it.

How many people in the United States are millionaires or billionaires?

  • How many people in the United States of America are millionaires? The United States will be home to 21,951,000 millionaires by the year 2020, according to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report. By 2025, it is expected that 28% of this population will have grown to a total of 28,055,000.
  • Do you know how many billionaires in the United States are from the United States? In 2020, there were 614 billionaires in the United States, and in 2021, there will be 724 billionaires.
  • The answer to this question is: a fair number. Seven. Among the wealthiest Americans, there are seven African-Americans. People of color make up less than one percent of America’s billionaires, according to Forbes. 
  • Approximately how many American women are millionaires? Women make up 12 percent of the country’s billionaires, or 87 of them.
  • Who is a high-net-worth individual, exactly? According to Credit Suisse, high-net-worth individuals have a combined net worth between $1 million and $50 million (HNWIs). Ultra high net worth individuals (UHNW) include those with a net worth of $50 million or more, according to Credit Suisse’s definition of the term.

Wealthiest billionaires in the United States

  1. Jeff Bezos ($177 billion)
  2. Elon Musk ($151 billion)
  3. Bill Gates ($124 billion)
  4. Mark Zuckerberg ($97 billion)
  5. Warren Buffett ($96 billion)
  6. Larry Ellison ($93 billion)
  7. Larry Page ($91.5 billion)
  8. Sergey Brin ($89 billion)
  9. Steve Ballmer ($68.7 billion)
  10. Alice Walton ($61.9 billion)

Wealthiest women billionaires in the United States

  1. Alice Walton ($61.9 billion)
  2. MacKenzie Scott ($53 billion)
  3. Julia Koch and family ($46.4 billion)
  4. Miriam Adelson ($38.2 billion)
  5. Jacqueline Mars ($31.3 billion)
  6. Abigail Johnson ($20.9 billion)
  7. Laurene Powell Jobs and family ($19 billion)
  8. Blair Parry-Okeden ($9.4 billion)
  9. Ann Walton Kroenke ($8.4 billion)
  10. Diane Hendricks ($8 billion)

All of the United States’ Black Billionaires

  1. Robert F. Smith ($6 billion)
  2. David Steward ($3.7 billion)
  3. Oprah Winfrey ($2.7 billion)
  4. Kanye West ($1.8 billion)
  5. Michael Jordan ($1.6 billion)
  6. Jay-Z ($1.4 billion)
  7. Tyler Perry ($1 billion)

Wealthiest Asian-American billionaires in the United States

  1. Eric Yuan ($14.9 billion)
  2. Jensen Huang ($11.8 billion)
  3. Jay Chaudry ($10 billion)
  4. David Sun ($9.1 billion)
  5. John Tu ($9.1 billion)
  6. Shahid Khan ($8 billion)
  7. Patrick Soon-Shiong ($7.5 billion)
  8. Min Kao ($4.5 billion)
  9. Ken Xie ($4.2 billion)
  10. Rakesh Gangwal ($3.9 billion)

Wealthiest Hispanic billionaires in the United States

  1. Ernest Garcia II ($19.5 billion)
  2. Ernest Garcia III ($7.4 billion)
  3. Orlando Bravo ($4.4 billion)
  4. Arturo Moreno ($3.4 billion)
  5. José Feliciano ($3 billion)
  6. Pablo Legorreta ($2.9 billion)
  7. Alejandro Santo Domingo ($2.9 billion)
  8. Andrés Santo Domingo ($1.7 billion)
  9. Jorge Perez ($1.7 billion)
  10. Jorge Mas ($1.2 billion)

US millionaires under the age of 30

  1. Austin Russell, age 26 ($2.4 billion)
  2. Andy Fang, age 28 ($2 billion)
  3. Stanley Tang, age 28 ($2 billion)
  4. Sam Bankman-Fried, age 29 ($8.7 billion)
  5. Evan Spiegel, age 30 ($8.7 billion)
  6. Whitney Wolfe Herd, age 31 ($1.3 billion)
  7. Bobby Murphy, age 32 ($11.9 billion)
  8. Fred Ehrsam, age 32 ($1.9 billion)
  9. Lukas Walton, age 34 ($15.6 billion)
  10. Vlad Tenev, age 34 ($1 billion)

*Age as of July 2021, based on current medical standards.

Net worth statistics

Median and average net worth by age in the U.S.

As one grows older, so does their net worth. In their twenties, a typical American family starts out with nothing or with debt, and subsequently builds wealth and pays down debt until retirement, at which point they draw from their savings accounts.
Assets and net worth:

  • The median and average net worth increased by 44 percent and 42 percent, respectively, for those aged 35-44 between 2016 and 2019.
  • It’s still more than 16 percent lower than the pre-recession median net worth of $109,430 in 2007 for the 35-44 age group. Average American wealth has risen by 8.6 percent since the recession began, which might be a symptom of increasing wealth disparity among Americans.
  • The rise in net home equity in the 35-44 age bracket since 2016 is largely responsible for the rise in net worth.
  • 2 More than a decade after the Great Recession, this group’s median house value has just recently surpassed the pre-Recession peak of $253,050.
  • The percentage of 35-44-year-olds who own their own homes (61.4% in 2019) is still much below the pre-Recession high of 68.3% in 2004.
  • The wealth disparity between generations is widening. In 2019, the net worth of households aged 65 and older is 19 times more than that of families aged 35 and under. When compared to 2016, this wealth difference was a factor of 12 in 2016 and a factor of 7 in 1989. 4


  • Working-age families face an increasing debt-to-income ratio as a result of student loans. With an average total of little over $41,000, 41.4 percent of households under 35 had student loans.
  • A whopping 33.7% of those aged 35 to 44 still owe $42,000 or more on their college loans.
  • Of those aged 45 to 54, just 23.3% had student loans, yet the average debt owed was still $39,600, putting them in line with those in their 20s and 30s.
  • The average student debt balance for those aged 55 to 64 is $37,600, and 12.2 percent of this demographic had student loans.

In the United States, the median and average net worth by education level

No High School Diploma$20,780$137,580
High school diploma$73,890$304,590
Some college$89,280$374,010
College degree$308,800$1,516,91

Net worth and assets:

  • Nearly 15 times the wealth of individuals with no high school diploma is the wealth of those with a college degree compared to the wealth of those with a high school education.
  • Since the inception of this poll in 1989, the median net worth of persons without a high school diploma has been declining. There has been a 57% decrease in the median net worth of persons without a high school graduation since 1989. There was a 14% drop in the median net worth of those without a high school graduation in 2016.


  • The average student debt balance for people with a college degree is $55,880.
  • There are 25.8 percent of people with some college education who have student loans with an average debt of $26,820.
  • Nearly three-quarters of borrowers with outstanding student loans who dropped out before earning an associate degree are delinquent on their debts.

Net worth and assets:

  • In 1989, 57% of 25- to 34-year-olds were married; by 2016, that figure had fallen to 37%. (SCF 2016). However, they still hold a sizable portion of the equity in their homes.
  • Single women under the age of 35 have just 13.0 percent of the median net worth compared to their single male counterparts, whereas women 35 to 54 have just under 35 percent of the median net worth of single males that age.
  • The wealth disparity between unmarried men and women narrows to 83% of men’s wealth by age 55-64. It’s not statistically significant that by the time a person reaches 65, single women have 90 percent of a man’s median net worth, according to the Census Bureau.


  • Prior to credit cards and secured loans, student debts appear to be the most stressful for singles and unmarried couples ages 25 to 34.
  • Married people owe an average of $10,400, whereas single young adults owe an average of $20,000 in student loan debt.

Median and average net worth by family structure

Median net worthAverage net worth
Single, no child, age <55$15,700$131,760
Single, no child, age >55$119,500$444,900
Single with child(ren)$36,710$284,620
Couple, no child$251,700$1,314,550
Couple with child(ren)$166,300$879,210

Net worth and assets:

  • A family’s net worth has a greater influence on a child’s well-being than income does, according to studies.
  • Households that own their own homes are better able to manage the additional costs that children impose on household finances, and even gain wealth, by as much as one-and-a-half times the rate of non-ownership families.
  • Couples with children had a homeownership rate of 75.7% in 2019, while the single parent homeownership rate was 50.4%.


  • At $233,610 on average in 2017, the USDA estimates the cost of raising a kid in the United States to be (from birth to age 17). This eye-opening expense of raising a child is made up of 29 percent of the housing costs and 18 percent of the food costs, respectively.
  • In 2017, the typical American household had 1.9 children.
  • The average cost of raising a kid is $233,610, which is multiplied by 1.9 children to arrive at $443,859 on average. The $435,340 discrepancy in average net worth between married couples with children and those without children in the figure above (less than a 2% difference) coincides with this.

Median and average net worth by homeownership status in the U.S.

Most American households’ net worth is mostly derived from their net home equity. However, if a family’s wealth is concentrated in their principal property, they may be more susceptible to market downturns. In line with the traditional wealth distribution curve, the percentage of people who own their own homes rises sharply when families enter their prime earning years.

What is net worth?

The net worth of a person or a family is the difference between what you possess and what you owe.

Add up all your assets, such as bank accounts, investments, and real estate, to figure out your net worth or the net worth of your entire family or group of individuals. Then add up all of your debts, including any mortgages, credit card bills, and any outstanding loans.
Net worth is the difference between your entire assets and your total liabilities.

A person’s net worth is a more accurate reflection of their financial well-being than their annual salary since it takes into account everything they do with their money, from spending to saving to investing, as well as any other financial assets they may have. Over time, keeping an eye on the growth of your net worth may provide valuable insight into how well you’re managing your money in light of your long-term financial goals.

The difference between the average and the median net worth.

According to the Federal Reserve’s 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), the average family net worth in the United States is $748,800. According to the same report, the median family wealth is $121,700. I’m curious as to why the median is so much higher than the average.

The overall monetary value of the survey has a significant impact on the average net worth. There is a substantial discrepancy between the median and average figures in this case, which suggests that there is a major skew in the data and that the average net worth is of little help to your normal family. The Federal Reserve purposely excludes members of the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans from the poll, although the highest 10% of households have enough money to considerably influence the net worth numbers.

When calculating the 50th percentile, we use the median net worth, which is based on how much money respondents reported having, rather than on how much money they reported having in total. Since the 50th percentile net worth is $121,700, half of all U.S. households are below that level, while the other half are above it.

When talking about wealth, researchers and data scientists prefer to use the median net worth since money values might have rapid growth curves that distort the statistics. The great wealth of a tiny subset of survey participants has less of an impact on the median.

How to raise your net worth

A closer look at the numbers and demographics of net worth reveals a greater discrepancy in wealth distribution and larger debt loads for working-age households. What’s more, it becomes evident which assets appreciate in value over time, and which debts are beneficial, such as a mortgage, and others are detrimental, like credit card debt.

When you’re attempting to get your financial life in order now and in the future, it’s a good idea to look at your net worth in the context of your age, education, race, and other factors. You may better align your long-term personal financial goals by concentrating on wealth rather than income.

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