Households grow $2.1 trillion richer

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Don't look now, but you and your fellow Americans are now worth trillions more, the Federal Reserve said Thursday.

The net worth of U.S. households rose to $56.8 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2010, up about $2.1 trillion from the previous quarter, according to the Fed's latest flow of funds report. That's up nearly 6% from the fourth quarter of 2009, when households were worth about $53.6 trillion.

The central bank defines household net worth as the difference between the value of assets and liabilities. In the fourth quarter, households had assets worth $70.7 trillion and liabilities totaling $13.9 trillion.

It was a good quarter for stocks, with the value of corporate equities held by American households rising $1 trillion to $8.5 trillion. The broad S&P 500 stock index gained over 10% in the last three months of 2010.

Overall, financial assets including stocks, bonds and real estate owned by households totaled $47.6 trillion in the quarter, up $2.3 trillion from the third quarter.

Household debt, meanwhile, continued to contract. In the fourth quarter, household debt declined 0.5%, marking over two years of falling debt levels. To top of page

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Data as of 2:44pm ET


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