The Census Bureau reports on the 2017 wave of its Survey of Income and Program Participation, assessing wealth and debt among low-income households. The report quantifies median wealth of households participating in means-tested government benefit programs versus their counterparts without benefits, finding a massive gap between the two. Even excluding home equity, those receiving benefits reported median wealth of $1,835 compared with $74,530 among those without benefits: a 97 percent gap. Alarmingly, despite less wealth and fewer assets, levels of unsecured debt were relatively similar between the groups, at $8,000 in the group with benefits and $9,000 in the group without. Given low wealth and high debt, financial mobility is especially challenging among low income families, even before the added financial strains of the pandemic. #wealth&assets
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