2:55pm

Fri May 31, 2013
Planet Money

All The Wealth We Lost And Regained Since The Recession Started

Originally published on Sun June 2, 2013 5:47 pm

American households lost roughly $16 trillion in net worth since the recession started in 2007. According to the latest Fed data, we regained about $14.6 trillion, or roughly 91 percent, of it. But let's not break out the champagne glasses just yet.

A new report from the St. Louis Fed shows that, after adjusting those numbers for inflation and normalizing them for population growth, we recovered less than half of what we've lost in wealth.

Looking closer at the data, it also seems that the recovery has not been uniform across different households. Wealthier families, who tend to own more stocks, have regained much more than poorer families.

An alternative way to look at how families have fared during the recovery is to compare households by demographics such as education levels, ethnicity and age. A family that is headed by a white or Asian college-educated person aged between 40 and 61 years might have regained close to all of the wealth they lost in the past five years. By contrast, a household headed by a similarly educated African-American or Hispanic person who is under 40 might have regained only less than a third of its wealth.

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