2014 December 24 Wednesday
Household Net Worth Gaps Widen By Race

A report from the Pew Research Center finds the two racial and ethnic groups which together will some day make up the majority of the US population have very low net worths.

The wealth of white households was 13 times the median wealth of black households in 2013, compared with eight times the wealth in 2010, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. Likewise, the wealth of white households is now more than 10 times the wealth of Hispanic households, compared with nine times the wealth in 2010.

The marketplace is putting a bigger premium on skills, especially on skills that do not get used to do routine tasks. The test score gap between blacks, hispanics, and whites is quite persistent after years of educational policy changes aimed at closing the gap including assorted requirements placed on schools for testing, reporting, and teaching. That gap and the wealth gap aren't going away in the foreseeable future. So will American become poorer as a result of demographic trends?

The Fed survey used by Pew does not include data on south or east Asians. So Asians are invisible once again. Their exclusion paints a misleading picture (which might have been the point). South and east Asian economic success does not fit with The Narrative. Why aren't they victims of microaggression racism that SJWs would have us believe is ubiquitious and deeply stifling to blacks and Hispanics? Well just don't mention that.

Net worth averaged over all races has been stagnant for a few years running.

Leaving aside race and ethnicity, the net worth of American families overall — the difference between the values of their assets and liabilities — held steady during the economic recovery. The typical household had a net worth of $81,400 in 2013, according to the Fed’s survey — almost the same as what it was in 2010, when the median net worth of U.S. households was $82,300 (values expressed in 2013 dollars).

The stability in household wealth follows a dramatic drop during the Great Recession. From 2007 to 2010, the median net worth of American families decreased by 39.4%, from $135,700 to $82,300. Rapidly plunging house prices and a stock market crash were the immediate contributors to this shellacking.

This stagnation should be seen in the context of a longer running decline in median household income. We are in an era when median household incomes are no longer rising. "Median household income peaked at least 15 years ago in 81 percent of U.S. counties. " The problem was clearly visible before the 2008-2009 deep recession. In fact in 2012 we were partying like it was 1995.

Cheryl Russell takes an interesting look at what year did income peak for each age bracket. For younger people (age 25 to 34) income peaked in 1973. But for ages 55 to 64 the income peak did not come until 2003. I think this shows how much skills accumulation and delays due to longer time in training have shifted career income peak to a later point in a person's career. Also, among younger people the incomes of blue collar workers started dropping in the early 1970s. So even though more educated 25 to 34 year olds were experiencing rising incomes a larger number of less educated people were experiencing declining incomes.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2014 December 24 05:29 PM 

The Dude said at December 24, 2014 5:49 PM:

The measure is "median net worth of households". Follow the link. Look at the chart.

Year 1: I have $60K. My son, living separately, has $30K = two households with a median net worth of 60+30 divided by 2 = 45
Year 2: Recession. I take a pay cut and dip into my savings. So does my son. He also moves in with me.
Year 3: I have $50K . My son (now living with me) has $20K = one household with a median net worth of 50 + 20 = $70K

Our "household" net worth has ZOOMED from $45K to $70K! We are RICH!

Lesson: Unless you can see the raw numbers behind these statistics and the method by which the numbers were combined, I don't think it can tell you anything.

James Bowery said at December 26, 2014 6:47 PM:

Anyone who thinks the standard inflation adjustments are anything but absurd after viewing this Jefferson Memorial Lecture by Elizabeth Warren is dreaming.

PS: Ever since leaving academia and entering public life, Elizabeth Warren, herself, appears to have fallen fast asleep. The Beltway is the opiate of the elites.

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