Average wealth has increased over the past 50 years, but it has not grown equally for all groups. Between 1963 and 2013,
- families near the bottom of the wealth distribution (those at the 10th percentile) went from having no wealth on average to being about $2,000 in debt,
- those in the middle roughly doubled their wealth—mostly between 1963 and 1983,
- families near the top (at the 90th percentile) saw their wealth quadruple,
- and the wealth of those at the 99th percentile—in other words, those wealthier than 99 percent of all families—grew sixfold.
These changes have increased wealth inequality significantly. In 1963, families near the top had six times the wealth (or, $6 for every $1) of families in the middle. By 2013, they had 12 times the wealth of families in the middle.