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US Household Wealth Grew From 2016 to 2019: Report

Michael Rainey
·1 min read

American households grew wealthier between 2016 and 2019, according to the latest Survey of Consumer Finances released Monday by researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank. But long-running patterns of inequality remained in place, leaving households in the top of the distribution much better prepared to weather the coronavirus crisis recession this year.

The report confirms a steady decline in relative wealth over the last 30 years for the bottom 90% of the U.S. population (the orange and blue lines in the chart below), and an increase for the top 10% (yellow and green lines).

“Affluent families have ... held a growing share of the nation’s wealth — savings amassed overtime, rather than the money a family earns in a given year — over recent decades,” The New York Times’ Jeanna Smialek wrote Monday. “They retained that advantage through 2019. In 1989, the top 1 percent of wealth holders held about 30 percent of the nation’s net worth. That jumped to nearly 40 percent in 2016 and was little changed in the latest survey.”

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