Courtesy of The Grio
The Occupy movement has stretched far beyond the borders of Wall Street in just over two months. Protesters energetically hoist signs and carry posters that read “We are the 99 percent.” But who are the 1 percent that have angered so many and sparked a national movement? And how many blacks are a part of the top 1 percent?
It turns out: not many.
Blacks comprise 13.6 percent of the U.S. population according to the 2010 Census, but account for only 1.4 percent of the top 1 percent of households by income. Whites are the overwhelming majority of the top 1 percent of households by income, comprising 96.2 percent. (Results were calculated from 2007 data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances and the Tax Policy Center’s tax table, The income cutoff to be a part of the top 1 percent was $646,195.)
Samuel Myers, the Roy Wilkins Professor of Human Relations and Social Justice at the Humphreys School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota says it’s no surprise blacks share of the top 1 percent is low.
“Racial minority group members hold a small share of top earnings, top wealth and top holdings of assets in virtually every data set and every time period relative to their representation in the overall population,” Myers told theGrio.
Even within the top 1 percent of wage earners there is a disparity. Top earning black households have a median income of $823,000, which is 22 percent less than whites and considerably less when compared to Hispanics.
Despite the shortfall in income, top earning blacks fare better on income than on net worth when compared to other groups.
“The income gap between black and white 1 percenters is much smaller than [the gap between] blacks and whites in the 99 percenters,” according to William Rodgers, Professor of Public Policy at Rutgers University and former Chief Economist at the Labor Department. “The chasm still exists in assets among the top 1 percent,”
“We’re getting income, but blacks have not had the generation to accumulate the amount of assets of White counterparts,” Rodgers said.