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A Profile of Older Americans: 2003

Special Topic: Net Worth of Older Households

The net worth (assets minus liabilities) of households increases with age until age 74 and declines somewhat from age 75. The median net worth of the elderly households (with a householder aged 65+) in 2000 was $108,885 as compared to $55,000 for the total population. The largest asset type is home ownership which accounts for $85,516 or 78.5% of this net worth. Over 78% of elderly households own their own home. Other major asset types owned by the elderly include: stock and mutual funds (29%), regular checking accounts (31%), interest-earning accounts at financial institutions (71%), IRA and Keogh accounts (25%), and motor vehicles (78%).

There are major differences in the median net worth of different household types. Elderly married couple households have a median net worth of $173,950 ($57,586 when home equity is
excluded). Male households have a median net worth of $84,000 ($15,375) when home equity is excluded). Female households have a median net worth of $76,000 ($10,475 when home equity is excluded).

This household net worth is not found in all segments of the elderly population. 70% of elderly households have a net worth of at least $50,000 and another 8.4 % have a net worth of $25,000
to $49,999. On the other hand, about 21.5% of elderly households have a net worth of less than $25,000 – 6.7% have a zero or negative net worth and another 6.6% have a net worth of $1?4,999.

Figure 9: Median Net Worth of Households with Householder 65+: 2000

Figure 9: Median Net Worth of Households with Householder 65+: 2000
(Source: Current Population Reports: Net Worth and Asset Ownership of Households: 1998 and 2000, P70--88, May 2003 and related tables
(http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/wealth/1998_2000/wealth98_00.html)


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