Twenty percent of Americans earn more than $100,000 per year at some point in their lifetime, notes Daily Mail.com. This proportion has more than doubled since 1979.
Because of inflation, $100,000 has far less buying power than it did in the past. For a person to have the same buying power in 2014, as a $100,000 earner did in 1980, he must earn nearly $287,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator. While $100,000 no longer represents great affluence, it is nearly twice the national median income. In 2012, the highest-earning 20 percent of American households took home 51 percent of the nation's income.