There was a historic surge in Americans’ net worth from 2019 to 2022, new Federal Reserve data Released Wednesday reveals.
Real median net worth ballooned by 37 percent between 2019 and 2022, more than double the next-largest increase on record, according to the Fed’s Survey of Consumer Finances.
But income inequality also widened, and affordable housing fell to historic lows, trends exacerbated by massive economic disruptions as a result of the pandemic, the report found.
Black and Hispanic families were also increasingly pessimistic about their financial futures, Fed researchers found: While Black and Hispanic families saw faster growth in wealth than the average white family between 2019 and 2022, the average white family had around six times as much wealth as a Black family and five times as much as a Hispanic family.
Conducted every three years since 1989, the survey measures Americans’ income, net worth, credit use and debt, among other financial indicators.
The 2022 survey excluded government stimulus payments from its 2021 income measurement, but some pandemic-related support including increased unemployment benefits was captured.
The term “stimulus” was only mentioned once in the report, notable for a period of historic stimulus and relief efforts by the government during the pandemic.
The latest report details a financial foundation that has supported economic resilience and growth in the face of high-profile but contained bank collapses this spring and dire recession predictions.
The Fed found measures of financial vulnerability declined during the three-year period.
The median ratio of a family’s total debt to its total assets, known as the leverage ratio, fell to a 20-year low of 20.9 percent, according to the latest survey.
The median payment-to-income ratio dropped to its lowest level on record, 13.9 percent. The fraction families with payment-to-income ratios over 40 percent also hit a record low of 6.5 percent.
But families looking to buy a house or carrying credit card debt are increasingly crunched by the Fed’s interest rate hikes, which are at a 22-year high.
Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by high interest rates.
The Fed has raised interest rates as it fights to bring inflation, which peaked at 9 percent last year, back to its 2 percent target without triggering a recession.