Key Highlights

  • At the end of Q4 2019, there were 11 million millionaires in the US
  • At the end of Q1 2020, there were at least 500,000 fewer millionaires in the US
  • Coronavirus sparked stock market free-fall and that free-fall lamed the top 1% of US households

The top 1% in America is smaller today that it was in Q4 2019. Then, there were a record-high 11 million American millionaires. Today, there are at least 500,000 fewer millionaires in the US.

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Then, the combination of America’s historic 11-year economic expansion, the country’s 2017 tax cuts that favored the wealthy and exceptionally low interest rates seemed to sprout millionaires, according to a recent study by the research firm Spectrem Group. Now, America and the world are dealing with the health and economic impacts caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Not only has the COVID-19 pandemic decimated people’s livelihoods by unprecedented job losses/pauses and entire swaths of the industries within the economy, the stock market free-fall has demolished the top 1%’s wealth. According to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index, the world’s 500 wealthiest people have lost nearly $1.3T or 21.6% of their collective net worth due to the stock-market free-fall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in Q1 2020.

According to recent Federal Reserve data, the top 1% in the US owned 53.5% of equities and mutual fund shares that drastically tanked in Q1. Such stock market losses have, according to the Spectrem Group’s recent study, affected wealthy people regardless of the level of their wealth from $1M to $25M.

Obviously, 99% of Americans are and will continue to experience more dire economic consequences from the coronavirus pandemic than the top 1% as 50% of that 99% have no more than $400 in their bank accounts while the top 1% have at least $1M. But still, relativity matters. Americans have collectively lost $433B in Q1 2020.

Among some of the wealthiest, according to The Daily Mail in the UK, Bill Gates now has a bank balance of -$18B than he had last year, Warren Buffet -$19.1B, Mark Zuckerberg -$16.6B and Larry Page – $9.33B. The only outlier among this group is Jeff Bezos whose bank balance is now +$4.52B larger than it was last year.

Thanks to yahoo! finance, al-Arabiya and The Daily Mail.

Also read: Five Stages of Grief Apply to Health & Economic Threats and Traumas Too, Renters Get No Relief from CARES Relief Act, Airbnb Announces $250M COVID-19 Relief Fund for Hosts