6 Walmart Heirs Have as Much Wealth as 42% of Americans Combined

Posted by on Jul 19, 2012 in Walmart Watch Blog | 16 Comments

New Federal Reserve data shows that the heirs of Walmart founder Sam Walton have as much wealth as the bottom 42% percent of Americans — or 48.8 million families.

In 2007, the Walton family “only” held as much wealth as 35 million American families. So, are American families now in a worse economic position or are the Waltons better off?

Well, both, as you probably guessed.

Per the Economic Policy Institute:

Concretely, between 2007 and 2010, while median family wealth fell by 38.8 percent, the wealth of the Walton family members rose from $73.3 billion to $89.5 billion. In 2007, it was reported that the Walton family wealth was as large as the bottom 35 million families in the wealth distribution combined, or 30.5 percent of all American families.

And in 2010, as the Walton’s wealth has risen and most other Americans’ wealth declined, it is now the case that the Walton family wealth is as large as the bottom 48.8 million families in the wealth distribution (constituting 41.5 percent of all American families) combined.

These numbers come into even sharper focus when juxtaposed with the income of the average Walmart worker.

  • Although the company will often cite higher numbers, the average Walmart Associate makes just $8.81 per hour according to a study published by Bloomberg News. An employee who works Walmart’s definition of full-time (34 hours per week) makes just $15,500 per year. That means hundreds of thousands of people who work full-time at Walmart still live below the poverty line.
  • According to data compiled by Good Jobs First, in 21 of 23 states which have disclosed information, Walmart has the largest number of employees on the public rolls of any employer. In fact, Walmart associates cost taxpayers an estimated one billion dollars nationwide.
  • Healthcare isn’t the only way taxpayers subsidize the Walton family’s wealth. Using tactics such as deducting rent payments made to itself (through a captive real estate investment trust) 1 Walmart avoids an estimated $300 million a year in state corporate income tax payments.

Most of us can’t even begin to conceive of what it would be like to have $89.5 billion.

  • Let’s put it this way, according to Forbes’ list of the most valuable sports franchises, the Walton heirs could afford to buy every major league baseball team, every NBA team, every NHL team and every NFL team, and still have money left over to buy some of the most valuable soccer teams in the world.
  • To put it yet another way, according to a recent Time article, the net worth of the average American household is $319,970. Multiply that by 2,797,137and you have the Walton heirs’ wealth.

The Waltons are by far the most prominent example of the unjust, disturbing and growing wealth disparity in the United States. For a more detailed account, visit the Walmart 1% website.

This post was written by Kurt Scott.
[1] Phillip Mattera, “Shifting the Burden for Vital Public Services: Walmart’s Tax Avoidance Schemes”, Good Jobs First, Feb 2011


  1. Oscardalibrarian@yahoo.com
    July 20, 2012

    Sad really, probably hundreds of comments on every news story about the tragedy in Auroroa.  Not a thing here….

    • BillyBob
      July 27, 2012

      The unions don’t care about things like the Aurora tragedy, because they don’t get any dues money from it.  Besides, it didn’t happen at a Wal-Mart store or one of their non-union suppliers.  Unions only care about THREE things – DUES, DUES, DUES!

      • Anonymous
        July 31, 2012

        Walmart only cares about turning it’s employees into slaves.

      • BillyBob
        August 2, 2012

        The main difference is the employees are free to quit if they feel they are being turned into slaves.  Unions on the other hand tell you if you want to work you have to pay their DUES or you can’t work.

      • BillyBob
        August 2, 2012

        Besides Wal-Mart PAYS their employees to work there, where the union charges them DUES money to work.

      • Anonymous
        August 3, 2012

         Hi there Billy Bob. Unions are not about people capitalizing their labor. It is all about the bosses getting their dues. Union participation rates in the private sector have dropped from 45% to 7% in the last 4 decades, but the bosses are still raking in the cash. That is what it is all about. Recent bankruptcies in CA have demonstrated that the huge retirements, gold plated healthcare, and very early retirements are unsustainable and will be recended by the courts. The main reason for the existence of the unions will then be gone. You guys expecting the taxpayers to work into their 70’s so you can retire in your 50’s better start saving your cash, because that gravy train is coming to a halt very soon.

      • BillyBob
        August 4, 2012

        I haven’t been around here because I had a stroke in Feb. and cataract surgery last month.  Then they have things like resorts they own, high salaries, and many things their rank and file wished they had.  But, the union members of the public service are working for less work with more pay.  Everybody should be happy for them because they get retirement at the highest pay based on the best wages earned in the last 3 years, so they work a lot of overtime to boost their retirement. While the rest of the workers work for a pitley amount.

      • Anonymous
        August 4, 2012

         Hope your stroke gets better and that you are getting PT for it. Cataract surgery has progressed so much, I am sure that is doing well. That area you are in is loaded with great hospitals. Sam Walton, J B Hunt, Don Tyson, Sr,. and Harvey Jones were all very generous with their money for hospitals. I had a friend that was at the Walton Center in Little Rock. He had Multiple Myaloma like Mr. Walton and was in there off and on for 6 years. He had a zero bill. Initially they told him he had about a year and he lived for 6 due to the drug research sponsored by the Waltons. These union haters never give them credit for the billions they have donated over the years, They just spread the BS they hear, like they are the lowest wages in retail when they average the highest. Hope you do well with your illness.

      • BillyBob
        August 7, 2012

        I’m paralyzed on my right side.  Thanks for showing your concern.  The union people would probably think that it is funny. That’s why unionization is going down. People are getting wise to how union screw their people, but union members can’t see it.  My brother was a good union member, but now he is anti-union because when he retired the union screwed him badly.

      • Anonymous
        August 7, 2012

         Very sorry to hear of that. Like I said, there are great medical facilities in that area. Maybe they can help you.

      • Anonymous
        August 3, 2012

        If capitalism is fair, then unionism must be.  If men have a right to capitalize their ideas and the resources of their country, then that implies the right of men to capitalize their labor.

      • Dewey
        July 8, 2014

        Yeah BillyBob I am a UAW Retiree. Been Retired for years I still have my Excellent Blue cross insurance and still get my Prescriptions for $2.00. Your are just a Jealous redneck. I did not have to go down to the Local Eagles Club on Saturday night and buy my Bosses Beers to keep my Job.
        So you keep on Kissin Ass…

  2. Mastertchr
    November 16, 2012

    Very sad because those who have the money, make the rules. There is no way anyone can live on minimum wage. Those profit numbers are appalling given the fact that they are making it on the backs of their mistreated workers and further disturbing because they are able to avoid paying taxes.

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