The median American household has become poorer over the past decade despite the complete recovery of many U.S. stock indices and five years of economic recovery. According to a study financed by the Russell Sage Foundation, the inflation adjusted net worth of the typical American household was around $88,000 in 2003.
Ten years later, it was only a bit above $56,300, representing a 36 percent decline. The same study also determined that the net worth of families at the 95th percentile of income saw their net worth increase by 14 percent of the same 10-year period. Research by economists like Edward Wolff indicates that gains were even larger among the richest 1 percent of households.
According to University of Michigan profession Fabian Pfeffer, lead author of the Russell Sage Foundation study, "the housing bubble basically hid a trend of declining financial wealth at the median that began in 2001." This study merely adds to a slew of studies that all indicate the same thing – economic inequality in America has expanded dramatically in recent years.