Back in 1918, how many millionaires do you think were in the US?

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Millionaires in 1918

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While millionaires are seemingly everywhere in the 21st century, just about a hundred years ago, folks with that much money behind their name were few and far between.

Of course, things were different in other ways — including what a millionaire could get with that cash. One million dollars back in 1918 has as much buying power as $17,370,861 in 2021.

How many US incomes at the million dollar mark?

The Washington Times (Washington, DC) January 26, 1921

Only one listed as having $5,000,000 or more yearly in tax audit

Among 67 persons in the United States rated as having incomes of 1,000,000 and upward, only one is listed by the government as having an income of $5,000,000 and over, according to a revised audit of 1918 tax returns, announced today by the Internal Revenue Bureau.

Who the millionaires and multi-millionaires are is not disclosed by the bureau on the ground that tax returns are confidential, and the law requires that the details such returns contain shall not be divulged.

The bureau, it is said, can make no accurate compilation of the total number of American millionaires who paid income tax in 1918.

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Officials explained that many in that class showed varying incomes.

Rich woman at home

Some reputed millionaires reported net incomes, for example, as low as sums ranging from $200,000 to $500,000.

Altogether there were 243 officially listed as in the class having incomes of from $500,000 upward to $5,000,000 and more.

The total amount of net income reported by the 4,425,114 people who filed personal returns was $15,924,639,355, and the government collected in taxes, both normal and surtaxes, $1,127,721,835.

The average tax per individual was $254.85. The 1918 returns showed an increase in number of 952,224 over the filings in 1917, and an increase of $436,228,881 in the tax collected.

Corporations income tax returns numbered 317,579, with a total tax of $3,158,764,422.

Of this amount, war profits and excess profits taxes amounted to $2,505,565.939.

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