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Pew: Wealthiest Experience Big Boost In Post-Recession Worth

Some 93 percent of Americans saw their mean net worth fall in first two years of the post-recession recovery, while the remaining 7 percent increased net worth by nearly a third, according to a new a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data.

The upper 7 percent (8 million households) had net worth above $836,033 and the 93 percent (111 million households) represented households whose worth was at or below that. Not all households among the 93 percent saw a decline in net worth, but the average declined for that group. Pew says:

"From 2009 to 2011, the mean wealth of the 8 million households in the more affluent group rose to an estimated $3,173,895 from an estimated $2,476,244, while the mean wealth of the 111 million households in the less affluent group fell to an estimated $133,817 from an estimated $139,896.

These wide variances were driven by the fact that the stock and bond market rallied during the 2009 to 2011 period while the housing market remained flat."

During the study period, Standard & Poor's 500 stock index rose 34 percent, while the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index for home prices fell 5 percent, the analysis noted.

Pew says that "among less affluent households, fewer directly owned stocks and mutual fund shares in 2011 (13 percent) than in 2009 (16 percent), meaning a smaller share enjoyed the fruits of the stock market rally."

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