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Work/Life

CEPR analyzes how families balance work and care, and how public policies affect family well-being.

Reports

The Wealth of Households: An Analysis of the 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances

November 2014, David Rosnick and Dean Baker

The Affordable Care Act: A Family-Friendly Policy

Septermber 2014, Helene Jorgensen and Dean Baker

Business As Usual: New Jersey Employers’ Experiences with Family Leave Insurance

June 2014, Sharon Lerner and Eileen Appelbaum

Women, Working Families, and Unions

June 2014, Janelle Jones, John Schmitt, and Nicole Woo

Documenting the Need for a National Paid Family and Medical Leave Program: Evidence from the 2012 FMLA Survey

June 2014, Helene Jorgensen and Eileen Appelbaum

More >

Op-Eds & Columns

Paying Workers Fairly for the Hours They Work

Eileen Appelbaum
The Hill, November 25, 2014

The Problem of "Stupid" in Economics

Dean Baker
November 17, 2014, TruthOut

Inequality, Student Debt and Millennials

Nicole Woo
November 12, 2014, The Hill

Paid Sick Days Benefit Worker and Employer

Eileen Appelbaum and Ruth Milkman
October 17, 2014, Philadelphia Inquirer

Obamacare and Family Values: Parents Get to Stay Home With Children

Dean Baker
Truthout, September 15, 2014

More >

Events

Getting Back to Full Employment: A Better Bargain for Working People

Mayor's Task Force on Paid Sick Leave - Public Hearing

Good News on Paid Family Leave: Political and Practical Lessons from New Jersey and California

Department of Labor Regional Forums (San Francisco)

The Path to Full Employment: Making Jobs a National Priority (WDC)

The Path to Full Employment: Making Jobs a National Priority

Improving Tax Credits for New Mothers and Reducing Marriage Penalties for Low-Income Americans

Rethinking the Economics of Pensions II

Getting Back to Full Employment: A Better Bargain for Working People (Book Discussion)

50 Years Since the War on Poverty: Looking Back, Moving Forward

More >

Press Releases

Household Wealth Falls Considerably for Majority of Americans

November 6, 2014

For Immediate Release: November 6, 2014
Contact: Alan Barber (202) 293-5380 x115

A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) shows that most households now have less wealth now than they did in 1989. The report, “The Wealth of Households: An Analysis of the 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances,” presents data on household wealth by age cohort based on the results of the most recent Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). The analysis shows little or no gains for the majority of Americans over the last 25 years, even in the years since the end of the recession. This is true of and particularly concerning for near retirees.

“This is especially bad for those nearing retirement,” said Dean Baker, a co-director of CEPR and an author of the paper. “Households in this age cohort will not have a chance to benefit from any strengthening of the economy and will only have the wealth they have accumulated to date to depend on in their retirement.”

The authors document several trends gleaned from the SCF. Between 1989 and 2013, average household net worth rose from $342,300 to $528,400 in 2013 dollars. However the average gains are misleading, as the population was older in 2013 than it was in 1989. More importantly, median net worth actually fell from $84,100 in 1989 to $81,400 in 2013, indicating that much of the gains of wealth accumulation went to those in the top quintiles. Other key points of the analysis include:

  • The median net wealth of near retirees (ages 55-64) was $165,700 in 2013, down from 177,600 in 1989.
  • The average non-housing wealth for the typical household in the 55-64 year old cohort was $89,300, compared to a peak of $160,700 in 2004.
  • The net wealth for the middle quintile (ages 35-44) of mid-career workers averaged $50,100, less than half the net wealth of the same quintile ($103,800) in 1989.
  • The average housing equity for the middle quintile of mid-career workers was also down considerably, from $63,500 in 1989 to $23,200 in 2013.
  • There was some improvement for the middle quintile of recent retirees who saw their average net wealth go up from $142,900 in 1989 to $239,300 in 2013, but this was still less than the peak of $270,700 hit in 2007.

When compared with the previous Surveys of Consumer Finances, it can generally be said that wealth grew in the United States from 1989 to 2007 and shrank from then on. At the time of the 2013 survey, the stock market had almost recovered to its 2007 peak. House prices had not. With house prices representing a larger share of assets for the bottom three fifths of Americans, this helped increase the differences in wealth between the top and the bottom. All in all, the results of the survey yield a pessimistic picture of economic progress since the end of the recession.

The full report can be found here.

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The Affordable Care Act and Part-Time Employment: A Family-Friendly Policy

September 11, 2014

Pay-Cut Clock Documents Billions of Dollars Lost by Minimum-Wage Workers

July, 24, 2014

Unions Boost Women’s Earnings, Benefits, and Workplace Flexibility

June 18, 2014

Federal Paid Leave Policy Could Allow Millions of Working Americans Access to Much Needed Family and Medical Leave

June 16, 2014

More >

CEPR Work and Family Briefings
Audio files and PowerPoints presentations of five Congressional briefings on work/life issues

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Bridging the Gaps
CEPR teamed up with state and national groups to document the persistent gaps between low-income working families' basic needs and the resources available to them.

Life, Work and Debt for Generations X and Y
Presentation by Heather Boushey at the New America Foundation, July 27, 2006 (includes video and audio)

Inequality Matters

Inequality Matters:
The Growing Economic Divide in America and Its Poisonous Consequences
with chapter co-authored by Heather Boushey
(2006)

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