A few days ago, the New York Times ran an article by Shaila Dewan and Robert Gebeloff packed with information about the top 1 percent of income earners in America.
Let me start by saying that being in the top 1 percent doesn’t mean being a millionaire. There is a vast disparity of income among the top 1 percent, which includes households making $380,000 a year as well as billionaires. Catherine Rampell has a good chart that illustrates this point:
Here is some data from Dewan and Gebeloff:
In 2007, they accounted for about 30 percent of philanthropic giving, according to Federal Reserve data. They received 22 percent of their income from capital gains, compared with 2 percent for everybody else. [...]
Most 1 percenters were born with socioeconomic advantages, which helps explain why the 1 percent is more likely than other Americans to have jobs, according to census data. They work longer hours, being three times more likely than the 99 percent to work more than 50 hours a week, and are more likely to be self-employed. Married 1 percenters are just as likely as other couples to have two incomes, but men are the big breadwinners, earning 75 percent of the money, compared with 64 percent of the income in other households. [...]
The 1 percent are family-oriented, nearly twice as likely to be married as everyone else. They have more children, but not more cars, than middle- and upper-middle-class families. For them, education is critical. A vast majority of 1 percenters graduated from college, and in a whopping 27 percent of couples, both partners have advanced degrees.
Read the whole thing here. Also, the same authors have an interesting set of data about wealth (as opposed to income) here.