Hate the rich? Don't worry, most of them won't be rich for long. Only about 6% of millionaires manage to stay millionaires for 9 years or more.
This week, Mercatus Center Research Fellow Veronique de Rugy examines the income dynamics of taxpayers with millionaire status using data calculated by the Tax Foundation that followed the same Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax returns from 1999 through 2007. The data represent 675,000 taxpayers who were millionaires at some point during this period; this number serves as the benchmark for the percentages of millionaires who remain millionaires.
... Interestingly, things look rosier at the bottom of the income distribution. That same Tax Foundation study also shows that about 60 percent of households that were in the lowest income quintile in 1999 were in a higher quintile in 2007, and about a third of those in the lowest quintile moved to the middle quintile or higher. In other words, while it is difficult for one to rise from rags to riches, and while it may be harder now than it was in the past, there is still real upward economic mobility in the United States. (Mark Perry, over at the Enterprise Blog, reported back in March on similar data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.)