Household wealth trends in the United States, 1962 to 2013: What happened over the great recession?

Edward N. Wolff

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    Abstract

    I look at wealth trends from 1962 to 2013, particularly for the middle class. Asset prices plunged between 2007 and 2010 but then rebounded from 2010 to 2013. The most telling finding is that median wealth plummeted by 44 percent between 2007 and 2010, almost double the drop in housing prices. Wealth inequality, after almost two decades of little movement, was up sharply from 2007 to 2010. This sharp fall in median net worth and rise in overall wealth inequality are traceable primarily to the high leverage of middle-class families, the high share of homes in their portfolio, and the plunge in house prices. Rather remarkably, median (and mean) wealth did not essentially change from 2010 to 2013 despite the rebound in asset prices. The proximate cause was the high dissavings of the middle class. Wealth inequality also remained largely unchanged.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)24-43
    Number of pages20
    JournalRSF
    Volume2
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Oct 2016

    Keywords

    • Household wealth
    • Inequality
    • Portfolio composition

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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