Working Paper

The distribution of wealth, 1983-1992: secular growth, cyclical stability

Abstract: This article describes the changes in the concentration of wealth among U.S. households between 1983 and 1992, a period which nearly coincides with the most recent business cycle. The distribution of wealth has received popular attention recently, based on reports that it became markedly more unequal during the economic expansion of the 1980s. New data for 1992 indicates that the distribution was about the same in 1992 as in 1983, or for that matter as in 1962. A modest, insignificant increase in concentration between 1983 and 1989 was completely reversed by 1992. While the distribution was stable, total wealth and wealth per household increased over the cycle; rich and poor households enjoyed an approximately equal gain, in percentage terms.

Keywords: Wealth;

Status: Published in Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, January/February 1997, 79(1)

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Part of Series: Working Papers

Publication Date: 1996

Number: 1996-012