Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Median Family Net Worth Down ~1/3

Using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances, Baseline Scenario attempts to compute a "composite picture of the median family":

For each asset or liability, I include it if more than 50% of the families in the middle income quintile have it; in that case, I record the median amount held by families who hold that asset. This isn’t the median family, but we might call it a “typical” family.
Click for larger image



What this information shows is:
The weakening of household balance sheets (fewer assets, same liabilities, less net worth, more anxiety) has likely had a significant effect in depressing consumption, which has been the single largest factor in our recent decline in GDP.