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Monday, September 8, 2014

Economic Disparities

The Federal Reserve Board’s triennial Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) shows disparities in the evolution of income and net worth since 2010.  From the report:
  • Between 2010 and 2013, mean (overall average) family income rose 4 percent in real terms, but median income fell 5 percent, consistent with increasing income concentration during this period (figure 1).
  •  Some of the 2010 to 2013 growth differential reflected a return to trend, after the cyclical narrowing of the income distribution between 2007 and 2010, when large decreases in top incomes associated with the recent financial crisis reduced mean family income more than median family income.
  •  Families at the bottom of the income distribution saw continued substantial declines in average real incomes between 2010 and 2013, continuing the trend observed between the 2007 and 2010 surveys.
  • Families in the middle to upper middle parts (between the 40th and 90th percentiles) of the income distribution saw little change in average real incomes between 2010 and 2013 and thus have failed to recover the losses experienced between 2007 and 2010.
  • Only families at the very top of the income distribution saw widespread income gains between 2010 and 2013, although mean and median incomes were still below 2007 levels.
  • The differentials in average income growth between 2010 and 2013 are also observed for other family groupings in which large differences in income levels are observed, notably across education groups, by race and ethnicity, homeownership status, and levels of net worth.