Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Community Development

Household Net Worth and Asset Ownership among the Economically Vulnerable

Author(s): Laura Choi

April 2013

Community Development Research Briefs

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. This Research Brief examines household net worth and asset ownership in 2005 and 2011 across different demographic groups, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation. This Brief also provides 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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