Column: Most rich households work for their status




Ninety-nine percent of the top 20 percent of households earn their income through employment.

An annual income of just more than $101,500 is required to enter the ranks of the richest 20 percent of American households. Think of a married dental hygienist and a police officer, for example. These are working households in the sense that 76 percent of income in this category comes directly from wages or salary.

The most recent IRS data reveal that earnings from capital (primarily dividends) don’t reach half of total earnings until a household earns more than $5 million per year. Even at that rarified income, one-third of earnings come directly from wages or salary.

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