CFED Assets & Opportunity Scorecard
Net Worth by Income
Ratio of median net worth of households in the top income quintile to households in the bottom income quintile, 2009.
Calculated by dividing the higher value by the lower value, i.e., the net worth of top income quintile households divided by bottom income quintile households. Income quintiles are calculated for each state. The income thresholds used to define income quintiles can be found here.
A ratio of 1 indicates perfect equality; the higher the ratio, the greater the inequality. For example, the median net worth of households in the top income quintile in Florida is 32 times higher than for households in the bottom income quintile.
Data are point estimates produced from a national survey with relatively small samples for some states, which can result in imprecise estimates and ranks. States are not ranked on this measure due to insufficient data at the state level. For more information on how we measured precision and to download margin of error data for each state, see here.
This measure describes the disparity in net worth between rich and poor households. The federal government provides incentives to save and build financial assets. However, because those incentives are largely available in the form of tax deductions, low-income households with little tax liability cannot benefit from these incentives.
Research shows that the distribution of benefits is highly skewed toward upper-income households over middle- and lower-income households. CFED’s analysis of the 2009 Federal Asset Budget showed that the top fifth of taxpayers in that year received the vast bulk (84%) of asset-building benefits, primarily in the form of tax deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes and preferential rates on capital gains and dividends. In contrast, the lowest 60% of taxpayers (those making $50,000 or less) received only four percent of the benefits, amounting to $5 on average for each taxpayer.
Net Worth by Income
|State||Median Net Worth, |
Top Quintile ($)
|Median Net Worth, |
Bottom Quintile ($)
|District of Columbia||—||—||—|
|North Carolina||$264,375 *||—||—|
|South Carolina||$151,811 *||—||—|
"—" indicates that no data is available, or data is suppressed due to a margin of error that is greater than 50% of the estimate.
* Indicates that the margin of error is greater than 25% of the estimate, and as such, this estimate is too imprecise to rank. Caution should be used when using this data.