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The Distributional Financial Accounts of the United States

Michael Batty, Jesse Bricker, Joseph Briggs, Sarah Friedman, Danielle Nemschoff, Eric Nielsen, Kamila Sommer, Alice Henriques Volz


This chapter is a preliminary draft unless otherwise noted. It may not have been subjected to the formal review process of the NBER. This page will be updated as the chapter is revised.

Chapter in forthcoming NBER book Measuring and Understanding the Distribution and Intra/Inter-Generational Mobility of Income and Wealth, Raj Chetty, John N. Friedman, Janet C. Gornick, Barry Johnson, and Arthur Kennickell, editors
Conference held March 5-6, 2020
Forthcoming from University of Chicago Press
in NBER Book Series Studies in Income and Wealth

This paper describes the construction of the Distributional Financial Accounts (DFA), a dataset containing quarterly estimates of the distribution of U.S. household wealth since 1989. The DFA builds on two existing Federal Reserve Board statistical products --- quarterly aggregate measures of household wealth from the Financial Accounts of the United States, and triennial wealth distribution measures from the Survey of Consumer Finances --- to incorporate distributional information into a national accounting framework. The DFA complements other sources by generating distributional statistics that are consistent with macro aggregates by providing quarterly data on a timely basis, and by constructing wealth distributions across demographic characteristics. We encourage policymakers, researchers, and other interested parties to use the DFA to better understand issues related to the distribution of U.S. household wealth.

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