Journal Article

Family Finance in the U.S.: Recent Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances

Abstract: Using data that have just become available from the 1995 Survey of Consumer Finances along with data from the 1989 and 1992 versions of the survey, this article provides a detailed picture of recent changes in the income, net worth, assets, and liabilities of U.S. families. It also presents information on families' saving, unrealized capital gains, debt payments, and institutional providers of credit. Of the developments the article reports, a few are particularly noteworthy. First, between the 1992 and 1995 surveys, both median family income and median family net worth rose in constant dollars. The former, however, remained below the level measured in 1989, whereas the latter returned to the 1989 level. Second, the percentage of families who owned publicly traded stock and the amount of their holdings expanded greatly over the six-year period. Finally, there was little evidence of a serious rise in debt payment problems between 1992 and 1995, even though both the share of families with debt and the median amount of their debt rose. (Occasional Staff Studies, "1995 Survey of Consumer Finances," OSS-2.)

JEL Classification: D12;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.)

Part of Series: Federal Reserve Bulletin

Publication Date: 1997-01

Volume: 83

Issue: 1

Pages: pp. 1-24