Pew is out with an analysis of census data that shows how the various generations have fared since the housing crash.
Few American homeowners were spared from the broad housing collapse a decade ago, but Generation Xers were hit particularly hard. Newer to the housing market, more likely to be buying at peak prices and taking on more mortgage debt to buy their homes, they lost more wealth than other generations. But a new Pew Research Center analysis of Federal Reserve data finds that Gen Xers are the only generation of households to recover the wealth they lost during the Great Recession.
Wealth tends to rise most rapidly at younger ages before peaking once people reach their early 70s. The more robust wealth recovery of Gen Xers compared with the older Boomer and Silent generations fits this pattern. Wealth, or net worth – the difference between the value of a household’s assets and debts – is an important dimension of household well-being because it is a measure of a family’s “nest egg,” resources that can sustain members through job layoffs or emergencies as well as provide income during retirement.
For many American households the bulk of their wealth is in their home, and this was especially the case for households headed by Gen Xers (then ages 27 to 42) in 2007. About half of the assets they owned were in the value of their primary residence, whereas households headed by a member of the Baby Boom or Silent generation had a higher share of their money in financial assets such as checking or retirement accounts.