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Monitoring the Financial Health of American Families

NORC’s Survey of Consumer Finances finds across-the-board income gains since 2013

The triennial Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), which NORC has conducted for the Federal Reserve Board since 1992, is one of the nation’s leading sources of reliable data on the financial health of American households. In 2016-2017 NORC conducted more than 6,200 interviews for the 2016 SCF, gathering critical information about inflation, unemployment, interest rates, national saving, and the finances of individual households. Among other things, the data showed that families throughout the income distribution experienced gains in average real incomes between 2013 and 2016, reversing the trend from 2010 to 2013, when real incomes fell or remained stagnant for all but the top of the income distribution. Families at the top of the income distribution saw larger gains in income between 2013 and 2016 than other families, consistent with widening income inequality.