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Chicago Fed Letter, No. 181a, September 2002
The Household Balance Sheet—Too Much Debt?
Are U.S. households carrying too much debt? Debt levels have grown recently to unprecedented levels. But that is nothing new, as debt has long been following an upward trend. Rising debt can be a good thing, signaling improved access to credit. For aggregates, what matters is net worth. That has risen in the late 1990s and fallen recently, but consumption had not kept up with the rise, and may not follow the fall.


Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, 230 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60604-1413, USA. Tel. (312) 322-5322

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