Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett have collectively more wealth than the 160 million poorest Americans, or half the population of the United States.
That's according to a new report from the progressive Washington, D.C.-based think tank Institute for Policy Studies. The report, published Wednesday, calls attention to the wealth inequality in the United States.
The wealthiest 25 billionaires have more than $1 trillion in wealth, that's equivalent to the wealth of 56 percent of the rest of the population, or 178 million people, the report finds.
For the report, the Institute for Policy Studies used data from the most recent Forbes 400 list and the Federal Reserve's 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances, the latest edition of the tri-annual data available.
Since the Forbes 400 was published, Bezos' net worth has increased another $7 billion, the authors note, so these calculations would be conservative for the present moment.
"In 1982, a wealthy American needed $75 million to enter the Forbes 400 list. The minimum wealth necessary in 2017: $2 billion. The 1982 price of admission amounted, in today's dollars, to $189 million, less than a tenth of the wealth of today's poorest Forbes 400 affluents," write the study's co-authors Chuck Collins and Josh Hoxie. "The United States is becoming, as the French economist Thomas Piketty warns, a hereditary aristocracy of wealth and power."