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Ipsos-Demographics-US-Affluent-Population-Sept2013The American affluent population is getting bigger and wealthier, reveals Ipsos in its latest study of the affluent market. This year, Ipsos estimates that 62.5 million Americans count as affluents – meaning that they are aged 18 and over and living in households with at least $100,000 in annual income – an almost 6% increase from 59 million last year. Over the past year, these individuals’ have enjoyed growth in average household income (by 4.6% to $200,200), liquid assets (by 9.1% to $551,400) and net work (by 2% to $1,006,600). So who are these individuals?

The Ipsos study provides some very interesting demographic breakdowns of the affluent American, noting that while affluents “continue to skew toward married educated White Baby Boomers… they reflect considerable diversity as well.” Here are some of the highlights of the analysis:

  • Affluents are almost evenly split between men (51%) and women (49%), which the researchers attribute to the definition of an affluent being based on household income;
  • Affluents actually are slightly younger on average (45.8) than the general population (46.5);
  • While a plurality 39% of affluents are Baby Boomers (49-67), 1 in 5 are Millennials (18-31) and about one-third are Gen Xers (32-48);
  • 7 in 10 affluents are married, and 41% have children under 18 living in their household;
  • 77% of affluents are non-Hispanic whites;
  • Compared to the general population, Hispanics (8% vs. 15%) and African Americans (7% vs. 12%) are under-represented in the affluent population, while Asians (7% vs. 5%) are over-represented;
  • 1 in 10 affluents were born outside the US, and 17% speak a language other than English at home; and
  • Two-thirds of affluents are college graduates, compared to 37% of the general population (college student demographics can be found here).

On a geographic basis, while a plurality 33% of affluents are based in the South, they are under-represented (index of 89) in that region relative to the general population. By contrast, they over-index in the Northeast (22% of the affluent population; index of 119) and the West (25% of the affluent population; index of 107).

In terms of DMAs (Nielsen’s latest list here), 46% of affluents live in the top 15, and 71% in the top 50. New York City (>5 million) and Los Angeles (>3 million) house the greatest number of affluents.

Previous research from Nielsen has indicated that Mass Affluents – who have income-producing assets (IPAs) of between $250,000 and $1 million (excluding real estate) – are concentrated less in old-money areas and the Sunbelt, and more in and around coastal metropolises.

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