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Americans had sizable gains in net worth during COVID pandemic

Across the board, Americans experienced a widespread expansion of net worth, which was largely driven by the increased value of homes.
Americans had sizable gains in net worth during COVID pandemic
Posted at 1:40 PM, Oct 18, 2023

A new report from the Federal Reserve indicates that Americans' wealth jumped considerably during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The report indicated that from 2019 through 2022, the real median net worth of U.S. families surged 37%, while the mean net worth increased 23%. The expansion of net worth nearly doubled the Federal Reserve's previous record. The government has measured such data every three years since 1989. 

The data was released Wednesday as part of the Federal Reserve Board’s triennial Survey of Consumer Finances.

"Between the 2019 and 2022 surveys, the COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted society and economic activity," the report reads. "Nonetheless, the SCF reveals broad-based improvements in U.S. family finances over this period, particularly with respect to net worth."

The definition of net worth is the difference between a family's assets versus their liabilities.

One factor in the rise in net worth is the value of homes. While homeownership gradually increased to include 66.1% of families, the median net housing value increased from $139,100 in 2019 to $201,000 in 2022. 

SEE MORE: High inflation persists with shelter costs continuing to skyrocket

Personal net worth is largely driven by home and property ownership. As a home could add an average of $323,000 to a family's net worth, financial assets such as stocks, bonds and savings on average account for $39,000 of a family's net worth. 

While gains in net worth were seen by nearly every demographic, Black families had the biggest increase by percentage. Their net worth increased by 60%. However, Black families still struggled to close the wealth gap with White families. The median White family had their net worth grow by nearly $67,000, resulting in a 31% increase. For Black families, their median net worth increased by about $17,000. 

From 2019 to 2022, real median family income increased by 3% while real mean family income grew by 15%.

The Federal Reserve said that by 2022, the median home was worth more than 4.6 times the median family income. 

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