Zuckerberg Tops 2013 Charitable Giving

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The past five years — those that followed the 2008 financial crisis — saw a massive upheaval in terms of wealth distribution in the United States.

While the figure that jumped out of Oxfam’s 2014 report on global inequality was the statistic that the richest 85 people in the world own more wealth than the bottom half of the entire population, the data also revealed that every high-income Group of 20 country is experiencing rising inequality, except for South Korea. The United States is leading the world’s widening inequality gap. Here, the richest 1 percent has seen its share of the nation’s income grow by nearly 150 percent, and that growth propelled the richest 1 percent to a more than 20 percent stake of national income, which is more than double the 1980 share.

Source: OxFam

Oxfam also reported that the wealthiest 1 percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent lost wealth. Wealth is not salary earned; investments like stocks, houses, or equity in a business build wealth, meaning wealth is generated by money not immediately spent. Low-wage earners spend much of their income immediately, while wealthier people are able to save or invest their money immediately.

With wealth inequality growing in the United States, it is worth it to note that philanthropy is once again on the rise after the country’s most generous donors held back on their giving when the economy stalled during the financial crisis, the recession, and quarter after quarter of meager growth. According to a list compiled by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the top 50 American donors gave $7.7 billion to charitable causes in 2013, an increase from 2012’s $7.4 billion but still less than 2011’s $10.4 billion.

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