Recent Developments RSS Data Download

The recent developments discussed below refer to data through December 31, 2021.

  • Household net worth increased by $5.3 trillion in the fourth quarter, reflecting gains in stock and house prices.
  • Household debt grew at an annual pace of 8.0%, as both home mortgages and consumer credit grew rapidly.
  • Nonfinancial business debt increased at an annual rate of 6.7%, boosted by a rapid expansion in loans at depository institutions and at nondepository institutions.1

Household Net Worth

The net worth of households and nonprofit organizations increased by $5.3 trillion to $150.3 trillion in the fourth quarter. Robust gains in house prices and stock prices accounted for much of the increase in net worth, as the value of real estate held by households increased by about $1.5 trillion and the value of corporate equities increased by $2.5 trillion. After several quarters of solid growth, household net worth is now $33.5 trillion above its pre-pandemic level at the end of 2019.

Directly and indirectly held corporate equities ($49.6 trillion) and household real estate ($38.1 trillion) were among the largest components of household net worth. Household debt (seasonally adjusted) was $17.9 trillion.

Household Balance Sheet Summary
Trillions of dollars
Description 2020 2021 2021:Q1 2021:Q2 2021:Q3 2021:Q4
Net Worth 131.34 150.29 136.64 142.31 144.99 150.29
Change in Net Worth 14.57 18.95 5.29 5.67 2.69 5.30
Equities 40.86 49.57 44.00 47.35 47.06 49.57
Change in Equities 6.67 8.71 3.14 3.35 -0.29 2.50
Real Estate 32.99 38.11 34.18 35.55 36.81 38.11
Change in Real Estate 3.00 5.12 1.19 1.37 1.26 1.29

For more data on household net worth, see table B.101

Nonfinancial debt

Household debt grew by 8.0% in the fourth quarter of 2021 (this and subsequent rates of growth are reported at a seasonally adjusted annual rate), about in line with the growth in the third quarter. Home mortgages increased by 8.0%, spurred by rising home prices and sale activity, and nonmortgage consumer credit increased by 6.9%, because of a large increase in credit card debt and a moderate increase in auto loans.

Nonfinancial business debt grew at a rate of 6.7%, reflecting growth in loans, both from depository institutions and from nondepository institutions, while corporate bonds declined. Federal debt increased by 10.8%. State and local debt decreased 0.9%.

As GDP grew faster than debt in the fourth quarter, the ratio of nonfinancial debt to GDP edged down a bit further, though it remains above its pre-pandemic level. In the second quarter of 2020, the ratio had spiked, driven by the drop in GDP and the expansion in federal debt related to the fiscal stimulus.

For more data on nonfinancial debt, see table D.1 (rates of growth) and table D.3 (outstanding).

Debt Growth by Sector
Percent change, seasonally adjusted annual rate
Description 2020 2021 2021:Q1 2021:Q2 2021:Q3 2021:Q4
Total Nonfinancial 12.34 6.17 6.80 6.52 2.61 8.24
Households and Nonprofits 3.82 7.34 6.71 7.74 6.16 7.98
Nonfinancial Business 8.88 4.53 4.58 1.83 4.73 6.67
Federal Government 24.06 7.17 8.98 9.58 -1.32 10.80
State and Local Governments 2.93 1.90 3.41 3.18 1.86 -0.89
Debt Outstanding by Sector
Trillions of dollars, seasonally adjusted
Description 2020 2021 2021:Q1 2021:Q2 2021:Q3 2021:Q4
Total Nonfinancial 61.27 65.06 62.31 63.32 63.75 65.06
Households and Nonprofits 16.71 17.93 16.99 17.32 17.58 17.93
Nonfinancial Business 17.73 18.54 17.93 18.01 18.24 18.54
Federal Government 23.62 25.31 24.15 24.73 24.65 25.31
State and Local Governments 3.21 3.27 3.24 3.26 3.28 3.27

Looking at the various components of nonfinancial business debt, nonmortgage depository loans to nonfinancial business increased by $96 billion in the fourth quarter. Loans from nondepository institutions and commercial mortgages also increased. In contrast to loans, corporate bonds outstanding declined.

Overall, outstanding nonfinancial corporate debt was $11.7 trillion. Corporate bonds, at roughly $6.7 trillion, accounted for 57% of the total. Nonmortgage depository loans were about $1.1 trillion. Other types of debt include loans from nonbank institutions, loans from the federal government, and commercial paper.

The nonfinancial noncorporate business sector consists mostly of smaller businesses, which are typically not incorporated. Nonfinancial noncorporate business debt was $6.9 trillion, of which $4.9 trillion were mortgage loans and $1.6 trillion were nonmortgage depository loans.

For more data on nonfinancial business balance sheets, including debt, see tables B.103 and B.104.

Coming soon

Chart Notes

  1. Changes in net worth consist of transactions, revaluations, and other volume changes. Corporate equity and debt securities include directly and indirectly held securities. Real estate is the value of owner-occupied real estate. Other includes equity in noncorporate businesses, consumer durable goods, fixed assets of nonprofit organizations, and all other financial assets apart from corporate equities and debt securities, net of liabilities, as shown on table B.101 Balance Sheet of Households and Nonprofit Organizations.

  1. Depository loans include bank loans (bank credit) and loans from nonbank depository institutions such as credit unions and savings and loans associations.


Last Update: March 10, 2022