Research Institute for Housing America

The Distribution of Wealth Since the Great Recession

Two things have happened to the wealth of American households since the Great Recession started in 2007. First, the distribution became much more unequal; second, the wealth of the typical family dropped sharply, and, at least through 2016, did not recover. These changes are largely due to the sharp drop in homeownership. From 2007 to 2015, the homeownership rate fell by four and one-half percentage points - over six million families. The proportional decline was similar for all large racial and ethnic categories: White, Black, Hispanic, and "other" (mostly Asian). For the 60 percent of us who comprise the broad middle class, the equity in our homes is still our most valuable asset, and this is true for those of us whose net worth is around $50,000 on up to those of us who are millionaires; but as of 2016 we were typically 30 percent poorer than we were in 2007.

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