Over at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth: A Few Finger Exercises with the Saez and Zucman Wealth-Concentration Estimates...: From Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman (March 2014): The Distribution of US Wealth, Capital Income and Returns since 1913:
From today's perspective, the $800K per capita in today's purchasing that the circa-1949 average member of the "merely rich"--those between the 99%ile and the 99.9%ile--had looks extraordinarily small. Why, a 3% rate of spending relative to assets would leave them with only $24K per capita to spend! Barely enough to give you the median standard of living in 2014! (OK, OK: a much bigger house and a much more comfortable commute than the median today--but no electronic toys and air travel a very exceptional treat.) Even the truly rich of 1949--the upper 15,000--would find that a 3% rate of spending relative to assets would give them only the upper-middle class standard of living today or, well, me: the kind of style of life at which one stays at the Crowne Plaza or the Holiday Inn Express because more fancy seems not worth it given other demands on one's cash.
Looking at it the other way, our truly rich today--the top 0.01%, the top 30,000--have a standard of living that, if one trusts the real income figures, was only matched by the top 0.0003%--the top 400 in 1949...
Feel free to click on, play with, and edit the spreadsheet if you want to--but do play nice, please... READ MOAR