New Fed Survey Shows Drop in Americans’ Net Worth

June 13, 2012

The Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) released this week shows a sharp drop in Americans’ net worth between 2007 and 2010.  Median net worth fell 38.8 percent and the average fell 14.7 percent.  Both median income (-7.7 percent) and mean income (-11.1 percent) also fell sharply over the period.  It also showed that equity in closely-held businesses accounted for 17.5 percent of all families net worth in 2010, down two percent.

The SCF is normally a triennial interview survey of U.S. families sponsored by Federal Reserve System. Since 1992, data for the SCF have been collected by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago.

The decline in housing prices was of greater importance than financial assets for the wealth position of most families.

There was substantial movement up and down the income scale.  Thirty-one percent of the bottom income quintile moved up between 2007 and 2009 while 25 percent of those in the top income quintile fell out.

The hardest hit quintile was the middle income quintile and the youngest two quintiles.  See table below.

Family Net Worth

By selected characteristics of families, 2001–10 surveys

Thousands of  2010 dollars

2007

2007

2010

2010

Three Year Change

Median

Mean

Median

Mean

Median

Mean

All Families

126.4

584.6

77.3

498.8

-39%

-15%

Percentile of income
Less than 20

8.5

110.3

6.2

116.8

-27%

6%

20–39.9

39.6

141.3

25.6

127.9

-35%

-9%

40–59.9

92.3

220.6

65.9

199

-29%

-10%

60–79.9

215.7

393.9

128.6

293.9

-40%

-25%

80–89.9

373.2

638.1

286.6

567.2

-23%

-11%

90–100

1,172.30

3,474.70

1,194.30

2,944.10

2%

-15%

Age of Head (years)
Less than 35

12.4

111.1

9.3

65.3

-25%

-41%

35–44

92.4

341.9

42.1

217.4

-54%

-36%

45–54

193.7

694.6

117.9

573.1

-39%

-17%

55–64

266.2

986.7

179.4

880.5

-33%

-11%

65–74

250.8

1,064.10

206.7

848.3

-18%

-20%

75 or more

223.7

668.8

216.8

677.8

-3%

1%

 

The share of families that owned a privately held business interest edged down 0.3 percent to 13.3 percent in 2010.  Net equity in closely-held businesses accounted for 17.5 percent of all families net worth in 2010.

Net Equity in Business as a percentage of All Assets

2010

Change, 2007–10

All families

17.5%

–2.1%

For more Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances information, click here. 

 

 

 

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