Urban Institute Papers on the Changing Wealth of American

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on March 17, 2013

The Great Recession hit family finances from many directions. Housing and stock prices fell sharply, and along with them, family wealth. As economic output dropped and unemployment rose sharply, those who lost their jobs or were underemployed saw their wealth erode. The Great Recession had an especially severe impact on the wealth building of Generations X and Y, people of color, and families in low-income neighborhoods. In some cases, the impact only added to longer-term trends prevalent before the recession. These findings call into question the efficacy of wealth-building tax subsidies that exclude lower-income families; housing policies that adopt a “buy high, sell low” homeownership strategy for those with low and moderate incomes; rental and other subsidies that discourage homeownership; and a pension system that leaves most workers with little or no savings by the time they retire.”

  • Lost Generations? Wealth Building among Young Americans, by Eugene Steuerle, Signe-Mary McKernan, Caroline Ratcliffe, and Sisi Zhang – “Despite the Great Recession and slow recovery, the American dream of working hard, saving more, and becoming wealthier than one’s parents holds true for many. Unless you’re under 40. Stagnant wages, diminishing job opportunities, and lost home values may be painting a vastly different future for Gen X and Gen Y.”
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