NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Wealth Equality Shrinks

January 24, 1997

Federal Reserve economists says that the growth in net worth of middle class families was a bit stronger than growth for wealthier families during the first half of the 1990s.

  • Some 14.4 percent of all families had net worth of $250,000 or more in 1995 -- down from 15.2 percent in 1992 and 16.5 percent reported in 1989.
  • By contrast, the share of families with net worth between $25,000 and $100,000 rose to 28.5 percent in 1995 from 26.7 percent in 1992 and 24.7 percent in 1989.
  • The typical American family had net worth of $56,400, including home equity -- up 6.8 percent from $52,800 in 1992, but down from $56,500 in 1989.
  • In 1995, more than 41 percent of Americans owned stocks, mutual funds or stock retirement accounts -- compared with 37 percent in 1992 and 32 percent in 1989.

About three-quarter of all families have mortgage, credit card or other debt -- the typical debt outstanding being $22,500.

Source: David Wessell "America's Wealth is Being Distributed a Bit More Evenly, Fed Survey Shows," Wall Street Journal, January 24, 1997.

 

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