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Fun Fact of the Day: Lawyers and the One Percent

Scrooge McDuck: he is the 1 percent (but not a lawyer).

Lawyers are the fourth most well-represented occupational group among the nation’s top 1 percent (which, for purposes of the study, consists of households with a pretax income of $380,000, excluding capital gains).

— a New York Times analysis of data collected by the University of Minnesota Population Center.

Additional interesting facts and links — including which occupations ranked ahead of lawyers, and what percentage of lawyers belong to the 1 percent — appear after the jump.

Online versions of the Times research can be accessed here (the article) and here (the interactive graphic). Note that the print version of the Times, which is where I obtained the foregoing fun fact, lays out the data differently.

Additional interesting facts:

  • There are 145,564 lawyers who belong to the 1 percent. The groups that rank ahead of lawyers in “1 percent” membership are physicians (192,268 people), “other managers and administrators” (192,096 people), and chief executives and public administrators (161,069 people).
  • The occupational group of “Lawyers” gets subdivided into several subgroups. The largest subgroup, “Lawyers – Legal Services,” boasts 113,280 people who live in households in the top 1 percent, and 14.6 percent of this subgroup’s members are in the top 1 percent.
  • The subgroup of “Lawyers – Securities, Commodity Brokerage and Investment Companies” does even better than “Lawyers – Legal Services.” Of those who belong to this Wall Street lawyer subgroup, 29.3 percent belong to the top 1 percent. As the Times points out, “Lawyers who work on Wall Street are twice as likely as those in general practice to make the top 1 percent.”

These are just a few highlights. You can read more about the 1 percent via the links below.

UPDATE (4:20 PM): As I point out in the comments, “these statistics reflect people who are in the 1 percent by marriage as well as by their own earnings. So a schoolteacher or nurse or legal secretary who marries a banker or doctor or lawyer will wind up in the 1 percent.” This explains why there are thousands of people working in historically less-than-lucrative fields who show up in the NYT data as one-percenters.

Among the Wealthiest One Percent, Many Variations [New York Times]
The Top 1 Percent: What Jobs Do They Have? [New York Times]

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