Basing itself on US Census data, the Pew report found that the poorest 93 percent of US households saw, on average, a four percent decline in their net worth during these two years of stock market boom, while the wealthiest seven percent saw their net worth increase by an average of 28 percent.
The data give the lie to the administration's claim that the rise in stock prices since the 2007 financial meltdown is part of an economic recovery. In fact, it merely gives expression to a vast transfer of wealth from the working class to the financial elite.
Household wealth is measured by adding all assets -- such as homes, cars, real estate, retirement accounts, stocks and other financial holdings -- and subtracting from this all debts -- such as home mortgages, car loans, medical debt, credit card debt and student loans.
The upper 7 percent of households saw their aggregate share of overall national wealth increase to 63 percent in 2011, up from 56 percent in 2009. Put in another way, the mean wealth of households in this more affluent group was almost 24 times that of other households in 2011, whereas in 2009 it was only 18 times more.