Federal Reserve: Changes In U.S. Family Finances from 2013 to 2016 – Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances

The Federal Reserve Board’s Survey of Consumer Finances for 2016 provides insights into the evolution of family income and net worth since the previous time the survey was conducted, in 2013. The survey shows that, over the 2013-16 period, the median value of real (inflation-adjusted) family income before taxes rose 10 percent, and mean income increased 14 percent. Real median net worth increased 16 percent, and mean net worth increased 26 percent. The data also indicate that gains in income and net worth are broad based, occurring across many different types of families, whether grouped by economic characteristics such as income and wealth or by demographic characteristics such as age, education, or race and ethnicity. However, the data also indicate that inequality continued to grow between 2013 and 2016, with large gains in income and net worth accruing to the highest-earning and wealthiest families. This article reviews these and other changes in the financial condition of U.S. families, including developments in assets, liabilities, debt payments, and credit market experiences.

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