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Optimism down

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The richest 10 percent of U.S. families, representing 11 million households and holding 70 percent of U.S. wealth, are less optimistic about business conditions, their incomes and the stock market over the next year, a new report says.

The decline in optimism began six months ago and matches the record low seen in the fall of 2002, says survey, conducted by the American Affluence Research Center in Pinecrest, Fla.

The report analyzes 17 spending indexes, including home durables and leisure activities, and finds that 11 have fallen since one year ago, and nine are at negative levels, while the index for international travel is positive for the first time since the survey’s inception in the spring of 2002.

The study surveyed 412 people with an average annual income of $329,000 and an average net worth of almost $3 million.

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