From the Star Ledger:
Just before the start of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland in January, Oxfam International reported 85 individuals own 65 times as much wealth as the entire bottom half of the world’s population. That’s 85 rich people with 46 percent of the world’s wealth ($110 trillion) compared to three billion poor people controlling only seven percent of the world’s wealth ($1.7 trillion.) The rest of us are somewhere in between.
They also reported income inequality is growing in affluent countries. The US leads that inequality list with one percent of our richest neighbors having benefitted most from economic growth in the past five years.
The other 99 percent saw incomes shrink a little. Yes, only a little. Inequality didn’t deepen because the poor were getting significantly poorer, but because the rich were getting incredibly richer. The Oxfam report drew the attention of President Obama who commented that income inequality is one of America’s most urgent problems.
In New Jersey numbers didn’t change much in the past few years. As population grew, so did the number of wealthy households. Seven years ago when whispers of a millionaires’ tax began to be heard around Trenton, New Jersey had the second highest number of millionaire households in the country with 6.46 percent reporting annual incomes above a million. Only Hawaii had more.
The latest report by Phoenix Marketing International, which tracks wealth as part of its financial services program, showed New Jersey as number two again, with 7.49 percent earning more than a million bucks a year. This time Maryland beat us and Hawaii dropped to number four.
Numbers are solid but statistics can be interpreted many ways. The number of actual millionaire households in New Jersey did increase, and the increase seems proportionate to other states with high-income households, but could it have been better? How does your income compare to your income seven years ago? Could it be better? What can make it better?