What it takes to be financially secure is an individual, subjective question. However, what it takes to be among the top 1 percent in net worth can be answered with cold, hard numbers.
A new report from Windfall, a San Francisco-based data company, highlights the minimum net worth required to be considered in the top 1 percent in each state in the United States. The company gathered data on overall populations, homeowner populations with more than $1 million in net worth and median net worth to determine the minimum net worth to be considered among the top 1 percent in each state.
In Arkansas, it requires a personal net worth of at least $1,430,149 to be among the top 1 percent in the state, according to Windfall. This is more than seven times the median net worth of primary residence home owners, which is reported to be $194,595.
There are 57,232 homeowners in Arkansas with a net worth exceeding $1 million, based on the Windfall data. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income for 2015 to 2019 in Arkansas was $47,597. Out of the approximately 3,017,804 Arkansas residents, 16.2 percent of the state’s population were considered to be in poverty.
Arkansas is on the relative lower end of the spectrum for net worth requirements for the top 1 percent. There were nine states with lower personal net worth requirements than Arkansas for the top 1 percent, including Alaska, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia. Mississippi had the lowest personal net worth cut-off at $766,205.
In contrast, the state with the highest bar for entrance to the top 1 percent was Hawaii with $6,905,465, followed closely by California at $6,806,380. Massachusetts, New York and Colorado rounded out the top five states with the highest personal net worth requirement. In addition, to be considered among the top 1 percent in Washington D.C., individuals required a personal net worth of at least $5,403,750.
Previous reports have focused on the annual income necessary to be among the top 1 percent. A 2018 Economic Policy Institute report showed the annual income required to be counted in each state’s top 1 percent. Arkansas individuals required at least $331,074 in annual income to make the cut-off, below the $421,926 required to be considered among the top 1 percent in the nation. The report showed that the average annual income of the top 1 percent in Arkansas was $864,772.
According to a 2020 Center on Budget and Policy Priorities study, the top 1 percent, particularly the top 0.5 percent, has increasingly dominated income share since the 1970s after wider income distribution in the since the 1930s. Despite brief interruptions, including the dot-com collapse and the 2008 financial crisis and recession, the top 1 percent has steadily increased its holdings of income and wealth.
“Wealth is much more highly concentrated than income, and concentration at the top has risen since the 1980s,” the report reads
As of Dec. 18, 2020, the top 1 percent in the United States controlled $34.69 trillion of a total of $112.79 trillion in wealth, or 30.76 percent, Federal Reserve System data shows. The next nine percent, or the 90 to 99 percentile group controls $43.28 trillion, while the next 40 percent (50 to 90 percentile group), controlled $32.67 trillion of wealth. The bottom 50 percent controlled on $2.15 trillion, or 1.91 percent of the total wealth.