The net worth of the American family has fallen to its lowest level in two decades, according to government data released Monday, driven by a more than 40 percent drop in their stakes in their homes.
The Federal Reserve’s detailed survey of consumer finances showed families’ median wealth plunged from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010 — a 39 percent decline. That put them on par with median wealth in 1992.
The Fed’s data underscore the depth of the wounds of the Great Recession and how far many families remain from healing. The median value of Americans’ debt did not change between 2007 and 2010. Meanwhile, the housing market crash inflicted particularly severe damage, with the Fed showing that the median value of Americans’ equity in their homes plunged 42.3 percent between 2007 and 2010.
The survey is conducted every three years, and this report offers one of the most exhaustive looks to date at the greatest economic upheaval in a generation. Although there have been some signs that the recovery has picked up steam — housing prices have begun to stabilize and unemployment has fallen — Fed economists said those improvements largely do not change the survey results.
Obama: “The Private Sector Is Doing Fine”
Question: What about the Republicans saying that you’re blaming the Europeans for the failures of your own policies?
President Obama: The truth of the matter is that, as I said, we created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone.
The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government. Oftentimes cuts initiated by, you know, Governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don’t have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.