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Recent changes in U. S. family finances: results from the 1998 Survey of Consumer Finances


  • Arthur B. Kennickell
  • Martha Starr-McCluer
  • Brian J. Surette


Using data from the Federal Reserve Board's two most recent Surveys of Consumer Finances, this article provides a detailed picture of changes in the financial condition of U.S. families between 1995 and 1998. The financial situation of families changed notably in the three-year period. While income continued a moderate upward trend, net worth grew strongly, and the increase in net worth was broadly shared by different demographic groups. A booming stock market accounts for a substantial part of the rise in net worth, but the data also suggest that improvements in financial circumstances extended to many families that did not own stocks. The indebtedness of families grew, but less rapidly than their assets. Nonetheless, compared with 1995, debt repayments in 1998 accounted for a larger share of the income of the typical family with debt, and the proportion of debtors who were late with their payments by sixty days or more in the year preceding the survey was also higher.

Suggested Citation

  • Arthur B. Kennickell & Martha Starr-McCluer & Brian J. Surette, 2000. "Recent changes in U. S. family finances: results from the 1998 Survey of Consumer Finances," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jan, pages 1-29.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgrb:y:2000:i:jan:p:1-29:n:v.86no.1

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David B. Gordon & Ross Levine, 1988. "The capital flight "problem."," International Finance Discussion Papers 320, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Steven B. Kamin & Robert B. Kahn & Ross Levine, 1989. "External debt and developing country growth," International Finance Discussion Papers 352, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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