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The collapse of American wealth, in one chart

The typical American family saw 39 percent of its wealth evaporate between 2007 and 2010, my colleague Ylan Q. Mui reports today.

The median net worth of families in the United States fell from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010 — which means that the median American family had the same net worth in 2010 that it had way back in 1992. Here’s the chart from the Federal Reserve study:


A great deal of the drop came from the collapse of housing wealth after the bubble burst — median home equity dropped 42 percent between 2007 and 2010. The housing bubble, the Fed says, probably accounts for some odd regional patterns: Income grew in the South and West during the housing bubble and stagnated everywhere else. After the bubble burst, that patterned reversed itself.

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