Huffpost Business

Households Aged 35 To 44 Lost More Than Half Their Net Worth In The Recession: Census

Posted: Updated:
Between 2005 and 2010, the median net worth for American households fell by more than a third, according to Census Bureau data released this week.
Between 2005 and 2010, the median net worth for American households fell by more than a third, according to Census Bureau data released this week.

Are you in your late thirties or early forties? Our condolences, then. The recession was probably especially horrible for you.

Households aged 35 to 44 were the group hardest hit during the Great Recession, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released Monday. Many members of this group lost more than half of what they had: the median net worth for households in this age range fell by 59 percent between 2005 and 2010.

Things weren't quite so bad for other age groups, but in absolute terms nobody really got away unscathed.

Young households -- those headed by someone age 35 or under -- saw their median net worth drop by 35 percent, according to the New York Post. And Generation X, or those born between 1966 and 1975, saw their net worth drop by 55 percent between 2005 and 2010, according to Federal Reserve data.

Older households, headed by someone age 65 or older, had their net worth fall by 13 percent, according to the Census data. For Americans overall, the average decline in household net worth was 35 percent -- more than one-third of all the assets in a family's name.

It's hardly surprising to learn that many households suffered a significant drop in wealth between 2005 and 2010. That was a period of extreme economic volatility, after all -- spanning the housing crash, when countless homeowners lost millions of dollars in property equity, and the financial crisis of 2008, which resulted in a national credit crunch and soaring unemployment rates.

Today, a record number of Americans are believed to be in poverty, and the number of people who say they struggle to put food on the table is at its highest level since the financial crisis -- suggesting that even though the economy has made a modest recovery since the darkest days of the recession, those gains haven't quite trickled down to the poorest Americans.

In fact, economic growth was a decidedly lopsided process in 2009 and 2010, according to one Berkeley professor. During those years, 93 percent of all the income growth in America went to the richest 1 percent of people -- a higher share than the 1 percent got during the economic-expansion period from 2002 to 2007.

Put another way, after the Great Recession, the United States came back more unequal than before.

Around the Web

Median net worth declined 35%

Fed: Recession kicked median household wealth to 1992 level

Obama Team: Household Net Worth Actually Rose During His ...