The Federal Reserve Board's results of the 2004 Survey of Consumer Finances, which covers changes in U.S. Family Finances is now available. This survey is done every three years and provides insights into family income and net worth. For 2001-2004, (inflation-adjusted) family income before taxes rose 1.6 percent, and the mean value fell 2.3 percent. Three key shifts underlie changes in net worth: strong appreciation of house values and the rise in the rate of home ownership; direct and indirect ownership of stocks declined, as did the typical amount held; and the amount of debt relative to total assets increased "markedly," the largest part of that attributed to debt secured by real estate. Families are devoting more of their incomes to servicing their debts.
The report is frequently cited. It runs 38 pages. Comparisons are available from 1995 -2004.