Fed survey finds family income continued to grow despite pandemic

Real median family income grew 3% from 2019 to 2022, while real mean family income grew 15%, according to the Federal Reserve’s triennial Survey of Consumer Finances, released today. The survey found broad-based improvements in U.S. family finances over the last three years despite economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Increases in income were experienced across income distributions but were largest at the top, consistent with some increase in income inequality over the period studied, the report’s authors said.

Real median net worth surged 37% and real mean net worth increased 23%, according to the report. The homeownership rate increased slightly to 66.1%, although housing affordability fell to historic lows with the median home worth more than 4.6 times the median family income. About 42% of families in both 2019 and 2022 had debt secured by their primary residence, and the median amount of that debt decreased by less than 1% to $155,600 in 2022. The share of families with credit card debt was stable at around 45%. However, median and mean balances for families with credit card debt declined to $2,700 and $6,100, respectively.