Things seem to be looking up for the U.S. economy. The nation’s wealth grew almost 30 percent from 2009 to 2011, Pew’s Richard Fry reported last month, but the growth was centered in the top 1 percent. The barrier to entry for the top 1 percent of U.S. households rose from $2.3 to $2.4 million from 2009 to 2011 (in 2013 dollars); however, it now takes thousands less to qualify for most of the other income groups. For example, to be considered part of the top 50 percent in 2009, Americans needed a $74,848 salary, but 2011 earners only needed $71,298.
The rich, however, are not necessarily spending their newfound wealth. Gallup reported that Americans making $90,000 or more a year spent $140 a day last month, one of the lowest recorded amounts in the last year. Consumers making less than $90,000 spent about $77 daily, about the same as they have for the last year.