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Household net worth or wealth is an important defining factor of economic well-being in the United States. In times of economic hardship, such as unemployment, illness, or divorce, a person’s or household’s financial assets (e.g., savings accounts) are an additional source of income to help pay expenses and bills. For individuals and households with a householder 65 years and older, wealth is also an important source of post-retirement income.

The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) periodically collects detailed wealth data as part of its normal operation. The SIPP has a large sample size (approximately 42,000 households in the 2008 panel) that allows comparisons of the assets of small groups, especially those that tend to be under-represented in other surveys (such as low income households). Because the SIPP’s sample design uses an address list that is updated repeatedly through extensive listing procedures, the SIPP enjoys a high degree of population coverage, which makes its statistical estimates valid representations of the population. The SIPP’s design also allows the reliable measurement of household median net worth, the percentage of households holding a particular type of asset, and the distribution of the net worth of households by asset type.

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For assistance, please contact the Census Call Center at 1-800-923-8282 (toll free) or visit for further information.

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