American families shored up their savings substantially between 2016 and 2019, according to Federal Reserve data released on Monday, but wealth inequality remained stubbornly high — and that was before the coronavirus pandemic took hold.
Median net worth climbed by 18 percent in those three years, the Fed’s Survey of Consumer Finances showed, as median family income increased by 5 percent. The survey, which began in 1989, is released every three years and is the gold standard in data about the financial circumstances of households. It offers the most up-to-date and comprehensive snapshot of everything from savings to stock ownership across demographic groups.
The figures tell a story of improving personal finances fueled by income gains and rising home prices, the legacy of the longest U.S. economic expansion on record, one that had pushed the unemployment rate to a half-century low and bolstered wages for those earning the least. Yet