Economic snapshot | Wages Incomes and Wealth

Households deeper in debt

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A weekly presentation of downloadable charts and short analyses designed to graphically illustrate important economic issues. Updated every Wednesday.

Snapshot for November 1, 2000

Households deeper in debt
In 1999, household debt levels reached historic highs. The total value of all forms of outstanding household debt was greater than the total disposable income of all households.

Distribution of the growth in debt, 1989-98
Distribution of the growth in debt, 1989-98

As debt ballooned during the 1990s, the share held by the top 1% of households actually fell; the decline in debt held by the top 1% was equal to about 27% of the total growth in debt over the period. The middle 20% of households absorbed the largest share (38.8%) of the increase in debt, but the top fifth of households (excluding the top 1%) also bore a large share of the overall increase.

From The State of Working America 2000-01, Chapter 4, “Wealth.”

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