Fed survey reveals growing income & wealth disparity in U.S.

Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 at 1:12pm.

The rich didn’t necessarily get richer after America’s Great Recession but apparently the poor got poorer.

According to Reuters, reporting on a survey released by the Federal Reserve recently, the incomes of the highest-earners increased following the recession but none of the groups the Fed surveyed reached the incomes they had in 2007 six years later, highlighting the deep impact of the recession.

The Fed Board of Governor conducts a large survey of consumer finances every three years, and this most recent one shows that wealth and income is concentrated among the top 3 percent of the richest Americans, Reuter reports.

The average income for U.S. families rose about 4 percent after inflation between 2010 and 2013, the survey showed, with the top 3 percent of earners accounting for 30.5 percent of all income, according to Reuters.

The survey also showed that the top 3 percent hold 54.4 percent of all net worth in 2013, up from 51.8 percent in 2007 and 44.8 percent in 1989.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen has called income inequality a disturbing trend, attributing some of it to the weak jobs market as well as underlying trends like technology and globalization, according to Reuters.

However, wealth stabilized overall for U.S. families from 2010 to 2013 after it fell significantly from 2007 to 2010. Fed economists attributed that pattern to the declines in home and business ownership – the biggest sources of wealth for many families – during the recession, Reuters reports.

Although wealth did not change much, debt decreased in many areas as home ownership did, falling 13 percent, according to Reuters.


Tom Kalinski 
Owner and Founder
RE/MAX of Boulder

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