The 1% Walk Among Us

The Timesposted a rollover graphic of eclectic 1% occupations this morning that will help you calibrate your stink eye the next time you're surrounded by seemingly 99 percenters. At first glance, you might be surprised to find that 0.2% of butlers, maids, cleaners, and whatever other servile occupations (human wheelbarrow? organic birdbath?) the monopoly men and women of America have created to serve the endless whimsy that wealth breeds, but read carefully before you drop everything and trade your bachelor's degree in classical languages for a feather duster. Some of those eye-catching 1 percenters — school teachers, social workers, and food service workers among them — probably aren't earning 1% paychecks all on their own. The Times graphic mixes everyone together in one rich soup — 1 percenters, whether self-made, married, or born, are 1 percenters based on their household income, not their individual earning potentials. Crossing the $380,000 household income threshold isn't easy to do on, say, a single public employee's salary, but even though the occupational diversity in this graph is somewhat misleading, it does teach us an important lesson — 1 percenters walk among us just like the aliens from They Live! Here are some of their craftiest disguises:

  • Apparel retail sales clerks (1.5% of the 571,893 with this job are in America's top 1% of households)
  • Social workers (0.6% of 860,416)
  • Cooks (0.3% of 3.5 million)
  • Teachers (0.9% of 6.8 million)
  • Clergy and religious workers (0.6% of 623,487)
  • Hairdressers and cosmetologists (0.4% of 1.1 million)

The Top 1%: What Jobs Do They Have? [NY Times]

Image via James Steidl/Shutterstock.