Public Policy Institute

Assets and Debt across Generations: The Middle Class Balance Sheet 1989-2010

This study finds that the average debt of the middle class has increased significantly since 1989. Using data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, the study creates balance sheets showing average amounts of assets, debt and net worth for the middle class by age groups at different points in time.  The study shows Americans over age 50 are experiencing the sharpest rates of increase in debt and younger families are carrying the largest amounts of debt. This trend presents a threat to the long-term financial security of middle class families of all ages.

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