2013 Survey of Consumer Finances | Summary and Q&A

September 5, 2014
Federal Reserve
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2013 Survey of Consumer Finances


The Federal Reserve Board's survey reveals divergent income growth, limited wealth growth, and decreased debt holding for US families between 2010 and 2013.

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Key Insights

  • ❓ Income growth in the US has been uneven, with a concentration of income at the top.
  • 🥺 Wealth growth has outpaced median wealth growth, leading to a widening gap.
  • 😘 Home ownership rates have declined, particularly for lower and middle income groups.


[Background Music] The Federal Reserve Board's Triennial Survey of Consumer Finances collects information about family incomes, net worth, use of credit, and other financial information. The new survey's findings show that between 2010 and 2013 there was divergent income growth, limited growth in family wealth and overall debt holding for the U.S. ... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How did the financial crisis impact income distribution in the US?

The financial crisis had a disproportionate impact on families with the highest incomes, leading to a greater decline in mean income for them compared to median income.

Q: What is the trend in home ownership rates in the US?

Home ownership rates in the US declined overall between 2007 and 2013, with the largest decline observed in the bottom and middle income groups.

Q: How has education debt changed for young families?

The average and median values of education debt for young families have increased significantly between 2001 and 2013, with a doubling in the fraction of families with balances over $50,000.

Q: How have education borrowing trends varied based on family income?

The share of education debt held by young families with low incomes has nearly doubled, while the share held by families earning between $30,000 and $60,000 has decreased. The share held by families with incomes of $60,000 or more remains unchanged.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Median income in the US rose between 1992 and 2007 but fell between 2007 and 2013 due to income concentration at the top.

  • Wealth growth in the US has outpaced median wealth growth since 1989, with a significant gap growing between the two.

  • Home ownership rates declined from 2007 to 2013, with a disparity between income groups. Education debt has increased significantly for young families.

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