But there seems to be a broader fissure underlying this discussion: why don’t people at the 90th percentile of the income distribution feel particularly rich?
The answer is simple: because any Americans who are richer than this cohort are so much richer
The line gets much steeper because at the very top of the income scale, the monetary divisions between percentiles grow much greater. Those in the middle earn a little less than people a few percentiles up from them, whereas those at the top earn a lot less than their counterparts in nearby, higher percentiles. For example, those who aspire to hop from the 30th percentile to the 35th percentile would need in increase their cash income by $4,000 annually (or by about 17 percent); those who aspire to hop from the 91st percentile to the 96th percentile would require an increase of $324,900 (or 171 percent).
via NYTimes.com – Why So Many Rich People Don’t Feel Very Rich. I love these sorts of article, putting a reality behind a feeling or attitude.