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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 12 No. 3 (Summer 1998)

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Recent Trends in the Size Distribution of Household Wealth

Article Citation

Wolff, Edward N. 1998. "Recent Trends in the Size Distribution of Household Wealth." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 12(3): 131-150.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.12.3.131

Abstract

Based on the Survey of Consumer Finances, the distribution of wealth in the United States became much more unequal in the 1980s and that trend continued, albeit at a slower pace, in the 1990s. The only households that saw their mean net worth rise in absolute terms between 1983 and 1995 were those in the top 20 percent and the gains were particularly strong for the top one percent. All other groups were particularly strong for the top one percent. All other groups suffered real wealth losses, including the median household, and declines were particularly precipitous at the bottom. Racial disparities widened, and young households also lost out over this period.

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Authors

Wolff, Edward N. (NYU)

JEL Classifications

D31: Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions

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