Summary of Recent Trends in Wealth-Holding by Race and Ethnicity

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Recent Trends in Wealth-Holding by Race and Ethnicity summary


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The economic recovery from the Great Recession has been steady but unspectacular. Yet despite growth at well below historical GDP norms, stakeholders across the US demographic spectrum all experienced wealth gains from 2013–2016. Federal Reserve professionals assess recent data to determine the scale and scope of prosperity relative to race and ethnicity, and they find that, despite upward momentum for all groups, long-term absolute levels of net worth remain largely unchanged. getAbstract recommends this data-based, authoritative analysis to anyone interested in the socioeconomics of wealth in the United States.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What wealth and income levels look like for different demographic groups in the United States,
  • What factors account for the disparities among races and ethnicities, and
  • Why significant long-term gaps still exist in wealth distribution. 

About the Authors

Lisa J. Dettling et al. are economists with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.



The Great Recession left Americans of all income levels with depleted resources. However, new data from the Survey of Consumer Finances detail a sweeping uptick in net worth during the subsequent recovery for families of all categorized races and ethnicities: “white, black, Hispanic and other,” which includes Asians and American Indians, among others. The financial crisis pushed median net worth down by roughly 30% for all groups, but from 2013 to 2016, the increases ranged from 17% for whites to between 30% and 50% for nonwhites. 

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