Since 2019, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System has combined data from two different surveys to provide quarterly estimates of how wealth is distributed among U.S. households. The Distributional Financial Accounts (DFA) provide these data as far back as 1989 and help describe patterns in wealth concentration in the United States.
FRED recently added several series from this dataset, which allows us to identify wealth holdings of segments of the population, from the top 0.1% through the bottom 50%.
The areas in the FRED graph above show the total wealth held by five different groups of households:
- the wealthiest 0.1% (in blue)
- the next 0.9% (in red)
- the next 9% (in purple)
- the next 40% (in cyan)
- the bottom 50% (in orange)
Keep in mind there are large differences in the number of households in each of these five groups.
What does it take to be counted among the wealthiest households? Well, FRED also has data on the minimum thresholds for each segment. At the time of this writing, each of the wealthiest 0.1% of households had at least $38 million worth of assets. In total, those 130,757 households in the top segment held almost twice as much wealth as the 65 million households in the bottom 50%.
Check back soon. The FRED Blog will continue to use DFA data to describe the current distribution of wealth in the U.S. and its changes over time.
How this graph was created: In FRED, navigate the list of releases to “Distributional Financial Accounts.” Click the boxes next to the five categories of total assets held by wealth percentile groups and click “Add to Graph.” Use the “Format” tab in the “Edit Graph” panel to change the graph type to “Pie chart.”
Suggested by Diego Mendez-Carbajo.