Households whose balance sheets were dominated by housing, particularly those in depressed markets and those exposed to high-cost predatory mortgages, were deeply exposed to the downside risk that became reality during the Great Recession. These households tended to be lower-income, minority, and have lower educational attainment, meaning they were already struggling with low net worth prior to the recession. In this new Research Brief, Laura Choi uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation to examine household net worth and asset ownership in 2005 and 2011 across different demographic groups and provide an overview of some of the issues around household financial stability, why balance sheets mattered so much going into the recession, and how they are impacting the subsequent recovery.
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