New Data: Waltons Richer, America Poorer

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Walton Family now richer than nearly 50 million American families combined

According to analysis released today by economists at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and UC Berkeley, in 2010, six members of the Walton family had the same wealth as the bottom 42% of American families combined. Josh Bivens from EPI writes,

And in 2010, as the Waltons’ wealth has risen and most other Americans’ wealth declined, it is now the case that the Walton family wealth is as large as the bottom 48.8 million families in the wealth distribution (constituting 41.5 percent of all American families) combined.

These days, the Walton family is worth about $100 billion, and in 2010 they were worth $89.5 billion, up dramatically since 2007. That combined with a recession that was long and difficult for most American families means that the gap between the Waltons’ wealth and the wealth of so many American families widened substantially between 2007 and 2010.

6 Walmart heirs richer than 42% of Americans combinedOver at EPI, Bivens goes on to point out that the wealth of the median American family—the family that’s wealthier than half of American families and less wealthy than half—was $77,300 in 2010. He shows that it would take 1.16 million median families to equal the wealth of the Walton family.

Silvia Allegretto from UC Berkeley brings up another interesting wrinkle in story of the Waltons’ rising wealth amid a major recession: even the cumulative wealth of the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans dropped between 2007 and 2010. The Walton family really stands apart from so many American families with their gains over that time period.

As Allegretto points out, when times are tough for most Americans, Walmart thrives. Walmart’s business model is built on offering low prices by cutting costs, right down to employee wages and benefits. The Waltons—who own half of Walmart—derive much of their wealth from the company. They have the power to turn 1.4 million jobs at Walmart into good jobs at a time when the middle class has obviously taken some hard hits. Instead, the Waltons hold on to the same wealth as the bottom 42% of American families combined, while offering Walmart associates an average wage of $8.81 an hour and destroying many of the manufacturing jobs that helped build the middle class in the United States. This might be good for the Waltons’ bottom line, but it’s not good for everyone else.


  1. Wayne T says:

    I think they should all go to jail for ruining our country! Take the money and divide it up!!

  2. Guitran says:

    Jobs in China have increased! Too bad if U.S. workers need more than $2.00 and hour.

  3. Tim Swales says:

    Time To Boycott Wal-Mart How Much In Taxes Have They Paid…… How Many Roads did The City Have To Build For wal-Mart HOW MANY EMPLOYEES ARE ON Government Benefits WHO WORK FOR WAL-MART!

  4. Barbie says:

    wal-mart also cheats you…

  5. cowboy2012 says:

    By so many of their employees needing food stamps and Gov. assistance for health care. Walmart ducks these cost and makes it our problem. A union is needed to make them start being responsible as an employer. I’m sure they get tax breaks, and probably don’t pay taxes or very little. Next the will move their headquarters to canada to avoid taxes. Their GREED shouldn’t be rewarded more than it already is. Our Gov. should pass a tax especially for them, the Koch bros. and ect.

  6. Greg` says:

    Walmart is so greedy that they have to charge a Mentally Disabled child minded person with theft of a product that their own employee had given it to her. She left the product in the restroom while recovering from a seizure which the Walmart employee found in it’s entirety but still proceeded to press charges despite the legitimate proof that she is mentally disabled with several doctors backing. and Walmart had the product back but they don’t care about anybody but it’s Walton family , I will cease to spend one more penny there , I spent over twenty five hundred a month there and now I would rather pay twice the price to the small store owner and so will the rest of the concerned citizens of the U.S. .Keep America alive by patronizing the small guy and not the rich who thrive on blood money. If Walton’s are worth over 120 billion then they are surely making too much on us. just like the oil companies.

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