Gender in the One Percent:
White, Married Men’s Dominance in Elite Financial Positions
The households in the top one percent of the U.S. income distribution control enormous quantities of financial resources. They receive 23.8% of all household income, and the minimum income to needed to be in this elite group is $845,000. The disparity between the average income of a one percent household and an average household in the 99% is stark: $2,347,494 versus $76,120.1 Because of their extensive financial resources, people in the one percent enjoy unparalleled political, economic, and social power and influence. Many use their high incomes as a resource to influence other powerful members in the community and to shape public policies and broader social environments in their favor.
Growing inequality has renewed research interest in the one percent, and these households have also become a staple of public discourse. The Occupy Wall Street movement that followed the Great Recession reintroduced the one percent into public dialogue, and politicians have incorporated discussion about the one percent in their campaigns. During the 2016 presidential race, Bernie Sanders frequently referenced the one percent to rally his base and to bolster support for his proposed policies aimed at reducing inequality. Similarly, Democrats entering the race for the 2020 presidential election—including Elizabeth Warren—make frequent reference to top income earners and propose policies that would alter income and wealth distributions.