You probably need a lot of business savvy, exceptional connections or a very large trust fund to make it into the top 1% of earners in America. The average annual income for such a distinction means you would have to earn more than $343,927 per year, according to Kiplinger. With wages at that rate, you could be a millionaire in about three years, provided you didn’t have to pay out any money for things like daily living or taxes.

How much does the top 1% of earners pay in taxes?

Despite the high wages of the top 1% of earners in America, that category only pays 37% of the country’s total income tax, Kiplinger notes. The top 1% earned 17% of the taxable income in the country.

What are the other income levels and the taxes they pay?

The second-highest income level in the U.S. consists of the top 5% of earners who bring in more than $154,643 per year. The top 5% made 32% of the taxable wages in America.

Next up is the top 10% who bring in an annual $112,124 and made 43% of the taxable wages. Those in the top 25 % earning more than $66,193 make up 66% of the wages. Those in the top 50% earn more than $32,396 and made 87% of the wages.

“The top 5% pays 59% of the taxes and the top 10% pays 70%”

Get to the top 25% of earners and you’re looking at a group that pays 87% of the income taxes. The top taxpayer group is the top 50% of earners who pay 98% of the taxes. The bottom 50% of earners, classified by an annual income of less than $32,396, made 13% of the taxable wages in America and pay 2% of the country’s income tax.

Who is the richest family in America?

The richest family in America honors goes to the Waltons. They are not the fictional Waltons of TV fame but rather the real-life Waltons who are behind the founding of the retail giant Wal-Mart, according to Forbes. The brainchild behind Wal-Mart’s 1962 founding is two Walton brothers: Sam and Bud Walton. The family’s net worth weighs in at $93 billion and four family members make the Forbes list of top 20 richest people in America.

Who are the other 20 richest people in America?

Walton heirs Christy Walton, Jim Walton, Alice Walton, and S. Robson Walton rank sixth, ninth 10th and 11th on Forbes’ 2011 top 20 list of richest people in America. Their fortunes weigh in at $24.5 billion, $21.1 billion, $20.9 billion, and $20.5 billion, respectively.

Bill Gates takes the top slot as the richest person in America and the mastermind behind Microsoft, which helped him amass his $59 billion fortune. Warren Buffet takes the number two slot on the list of the richest folks, with a net worth of $39 billion thanks to his company Berkshire Hathaway.

Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison ranks third on the list of richest people in the U.S. Ellison has a net worth of $33 billion. Charles Koch has a $25 billion fortune created by diversified means, right in line with family member David Koch. The two tie for fourth and fifth place on the top 20 list.

A Walton took sixth, leaving seventh place open for George Soros. His $22 billion fortune came about from hedge funds. Nevada casino mastermind Sheldon Adelson ranks at number eight with a $21.5 billion net worth.

The Wal-Mart Waltons took slots numbered nine to 11 while slot number 12 goes to Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg made his name bigger by becoming New York City’s mayor, but his name was already well-known for his Bloomberg LP Company that helped him earn a net worth of $19.5 billion.’s Jeff Bezos takes number 13 on the top 20 list, with a net worth of $19.1 billion. He’s followed by Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame, worth $17.5 billion and Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page, each worth $16.7 billion and tying for 15 and 16.

John Paulson and his $15.5 billion created from hedge funds takes the 17th spot on the list. Michael Dell of Dell computer fame takes number 18 at $15 billion. Microsoft player Steve Ballmer ranks 19th on the list with his $13.9 billion fortune.

The top 20 list is topped off sweetly with a three-way tie amongst Mars family members. Forrest Mars, Jacqueline Mars, and John Mars are each worth $13.8 billion thanks to the family’s candy conglomerate.

How is the country’s wealth distributed?

As you can see from the top 20 list alone, the biggest money often stays in very tight circles. A report authored by University of California Sociology Professor G. William Domhoff notes the top 20% of the richest people own 85% of the wealth in America.

The top 20% largely consists of those involved in professional, managerial, or small business endeavors with the wealthiest of the bunch comprising the upper class with privately held fortunes. The remaining 15% of the wealth is then left for the bulk of the population, or 80% of the American people who work for wages and salaries. Feel poor yet?

Alan Dunn

Written by Alan Dunn – one of our highly talented and underpaid writers. For more information on Alan follow him on Twitter or Google Plus

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