IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Changes in Household Wealth in the 1980s and 1990s in the U.S


  • Edward N. Wolff


I find that despite slow growth in income over the 1990s, there have been marked improvements in the wealth position of average families. Both mean and median wealth grew briskly in the late 1990s. The inequality of net worth leveled off even though income inequality continued to rise over this period. Indebtedness also fell substantially during the late 1990s. However, the concentration of investment type assets generally remained as high in 2001 as during the previous two decades. The racial disparity in wealth holdings, after stabilizing during most of the 1990s, widened in the years between 1998 and 2001, and the wealth of Hispanics actually declined in real terms between 1998 and 2001. Wealth also shifted in relative terms away from young households (under age 45) toward elderly ones (age 65 and over).

Suggested Citation

  • Edward N. Wolff, 2004. "Changes in Household Wealth in the 1980s and 1990s in the U.S," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_407, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_407

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Francine D. Blau & John W. Graham, 1990. "Black-White Differences in Wealth and Asset Composition," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 321-339.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Athreya, Kartik & Tam, Xuan S. & Young, Eric R., 2009. "Unsecured credit markets are not insurance markets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 83-103, January.
    2. Davide Fiaschi & Matteo Marsili, 2006. "Distribution of Wealth: Theoretical Microfoundations and Empirical Evidence," Working Papers 49, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    3. Jon D. Wisman & Barton Baker, 2010. "Rising Inequality and the Financial Crises of 1929 and 2008," Working Papers 2010-10 JEL classificatio, American University, Department of Economics.
    4. Robert Buchele & Douglas L. Kruse & Loren Rodgers & Adria Scharf, 2010. "Show Me the Money: Does Shared Capitalism Share the Wealth?," NBER Chapters,in: Shared Capitalism at Work: Employee Ownership, Profit and Gain Sharing, and Broad-based Stock Options, pages 351-375 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Zhan, Min & Sherraden, Michael, 2011. "Assets and liabilities, educational expectations, and children's college degree attainment," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 846-854, June.
    6. Corbae, Dean & D'Erasmo, Pablo & Kuruscu, Burhanettin, 2009. "Politico-economic consequences of rising wage inequality," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 43-61, January.
    7. John Schmitt, 2005. "Labor Markets and Economic Inequality in the United States Since the End of the 1970s," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2005-14, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
    8. Nam, Yunju & Huang, Jin, 2009. "Equal opportunity for all? Parental economic resources and children's educational attainment," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 625-634, June.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_407. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Elizabeth Dunn). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.