The average net worth of Americans is $748,800, according to the Federal Reserve’s most recent Survey of Consumer Finances released in September 2020. Meanwhile the median net worth of American households is $121,700, according to the same Federal Reserve Survey.
Net worth measures the difference between assets (what you own) and liabilities (what you owe). Understanding the average American net worth by age can be useful for comparing your own progress in building wealth.
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What the Average American Net Worth 2022 Includes
The Federal Reserve collects data on net worth in the U.S. using the Survey of Consumer Finances. This survey is conducted every three years, with the most recent undertaking beginning in March 2022. Findings are typically published in the year following the year the survey was completed.
To understand wealth and economic well-being in the U.S., the Federal Reserve looks at several specific factors:
• Homeownership status and home value
• Debt (including mortgage debt, credit card debt, vehicle loan debt, and student debt)
• Assets (including investment accounts, deposit accounts held at banks, vehicles, and business equity)
The Federal Reserve uses net worth as a gauge to measure increases or decreases in overall wealth levels. The Survey also takes into account demographic factors, such as age, race, ethnicity, and level of education.
If you’re interested in calculating your net worth, you’d use similar metrics. For example, you could use an online net worth calculator to enter in your total debts and assets to determine your net worth. When calculating net worth home equity may or may not be included, depending on your preferences. It’s possible to get a positive or negative number, depending on how your liabilities compare to your assets.
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How the Average American Net Worth Varies By Age
Using the Survey of Consumer Finances as a guide, net worth rises over the average American’s lifetime before gradually beginning to decline. Average net worth is lowest for Americans under age 35; between the ages of 35 and 44, the average net worth makes a sizable leap.
There’s another significant bump that happens between the ages of 45 and 54, then the pace at which net worth increases begin to slow. Once Americans turn 75, their average net worth begins to decline.
This pattern makes sense, however, if you consider what the typical person’s working career and retirement might look like. Someone in their 20s likely isn’t making much money yet. They probably don’t own a home and a lot of what they do make might go to repaying student loans, car loans, or credit cards.
In their 30s and 40s, they may move into higher paying jobs. Their debts may be mostly paid down or paid off so they can afford to buy a home. By the time they reach their mid-40s, they may be in their peak earning years and their home might have appreciated in value since they purchased it.
Net worth growth begins to gradually slow down once they’re in their 50s and 60s. That could be chalked up to moving some of their portfolio into safer investments or beginning to draw down their savings if they’re retired. Once they reach their 70s, they may be spending more of their assets on health care, including long-term care. Or they might have downsized into a home with a lower value.
|Age Range||Average Net Worth|
|Less than 35||$76,300|
How the Average American Net Worth Varies Over Time
The Survey of Consumer Finances provides a snapshot of how the average American net worth has changed over time. From 1998 to 2007, for instance, there’s a steady increase in net worth among American households. But between 2007 and 2013, the average American net worth declined. This makes sense, given that the 2008 financial crisis had an impact on millions of American households. Between 2013 and 2019, net worth rebounded sharply.
This begs the question of how much net worth might change again if the economy were to experience another downturn. If home values were to drop or a bear market caused stock prices to dip, it stands to reason that Americans’ might see their net worth fall. There is a silver lining, as economies do recover over time and the impacts may be less for younger investors. But a drop in net worth might not be as welcome for someone who’s close to retirement.
|Survey of Consumer Finances Year||Average American Net Worth|
|2016 – 2019||$748,800|
|2013 – 2016||$692,100|
|2010 – 2013||$534,600|
|2007 – 2010||$498,800|
|2004 – 2007||$556,300|
|2001 – 2003||$448,200|
|1998 – 2001||$395,500|
How the Average American Net Worth Varies by State
The Survey of Consumer Finances does not track net worth data by state. But the Census Bureau does compile information on household wealth and debt at the state level.
In terms of what influences the average net worth by state, there are a number of factors that come into play. Some of the things that can influence net worth include:
• Homeownership rates
• Property values
• Employment opportunities
• Average incomes
• Access to education and job training
According to the Census Bureau, the median net worth across all states was $118,200 as of 2019. “Median” represents households in the middle of the pack, so to speak, for net worth calculations. Here’s what the median net worth looks like in each state.
|State||Median Net Worth||State||Median Net Worth|
|District of Columbia||$24,000||North Dakota||$241,000|
*Note: Where a (B) is entered, that means the base was less than 200,000 households or a sample size of less than 50 so the Census Bureau did not record net worth information for those states.
As discussed, net worth captures the difference between an individual’s assets and their debts. In the U.S. the average net worth varies by location and age. Tracking net worth is something you may want to do monthly if you’re paying off debt. You can use a money tracker app to figure out how long it will take you to become debt-free based on what you can afford to pay. As your income increases you may be able to pay down debt in larger amounts to increase your net worth faster.
You can also use a budget planner app to track net worth, spending, credit scores, and saving in one place. That’s something you can do with SoFi. This free money management tool delivers a snapshot of your finances to your mobile device whenever you need it.
What is the average net worth by age for California?
The median net worth for Californians is $200,300, according to the Census Bureau. This figure represents the middle ground between California residents of all ages from the highest net worth to the lowest.
What is the average net worth by age for New York?
The median net worth for New Yorkers of all ages is $123,900, according to the Census Bureau. This figure represents the middle ground between New York residents whose net worth is at the highest and lowest end of the spectrum.
What is the average net worth by age for Florida?
The median net worth for Florida residents of all ages is $95,770, according to the Census Bureau. This amount represents the middle ground between Floridians with the highest and lowest net worth.
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