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Chart: 14% of Americans Have Negative Wealth



Chart: The Profile of a House With Negative Wealth

Chart: The Profile of a House With Negative Wealth

14% of all U.S. Households Have More Debts Than Assets

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.

According to the New York Federal Reserve, 14% of the U.S. population lives in households that have “negative” wealth. In other words, these are households that have more debts piled up than assets, which puts their net worth in minus territory.

But what does a negative wealth household look like?

In today’s chart, we compare the data on negative wealth households with the data on their positive counterparts. There are some obvious and stark contrasts.

Positive vs. Negative Households

At the household level, the differences are probably what you would expect.

Negative wealth households bring in $39,077 in annual income, and only 19% of these families own their home. More than one-third (36%) of these mortgages are underwater.

Meanwhile, positive wealth households bring in $86,309 in annual income, and 75% of the families own their home. Only 4% of the mortgages are underwater.

The Head of the Household

For each of these households, we have data on the person that is the head of the household, or the breadwinner for each family.

In terms of education, there isn’t a big difference between the heads of negative and positive wealth households. Both seem to be similarly accomplished in terms of achieving college degrees (43% vs. 45%) and postgraduate degrees (12% vs. 15%).

However, there are greater differences when it comes to demographic profiles.

Negative wealth households have heads that are younger (43 vs. 51 years old), female (69% vs. 45%), and single (57% vs. 33%). There is also a higher proportion of minorities (24% vs. 17%) and single parents (20% vs. 7%) living in negative wealth households.

The Have and Have Nots

We also wanted to see the difference in composition of both assets and debts.

In this case, we are comparing the poorest third of those with negative wealth (-$47,500 to -$520,000) to those with positive wealth.

Households that are deep in the red have the majority of their wealth in the family car – automobiles make up 45% of the value of their total assets. Housing makes up 20% of their assets by value. For positive wealth households, it is the reverse: 40% of wealth is in the home, and 15% in vehicles.

The composition of debt is also very telling. Negative wealth households have a whopping 47% of debt in student loans, while positive houses have just 6%.

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The Smallest Gender Wage Gaps in OECD Countries

Which OECD countries have the smallest gender wage gaps? We look at the 10 countries with gaps lower than the average.



Chart showing the OECD countries with the 10 smallest gender pay gaps

The Smallest Gender Pay Gaps in OECD Countries

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Among the 38 member countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), several have made significant strides in addressing income inequality between men and women.

In this graphic we’ve ranked the OECD countries with the 10 smallest gender pay gaps, using the latest data from the OECD for 2022.

The gender pay gap is calculated as the difference between median full-time earnings for men and women divided by the median full-time earnings of men.

Which Countries Have the Smallest Gender Pay Gaps?

Luxembourg’s gender pay gap is the lowest among OECD members at only 0.4%—well below the OECD average of 11.6%.

RankCountryPercentage Difference in Men's & Women's Full-time Earnings
1🇱🇺 Luxembourg0.4%
2🇧🇪 Belgium1.1%
3🇨🇷 Costa Rica1.4%
4🇨🇴 Colombia1.9%
5🇮🇪 Ireland2.0%
6🇭🇷 Croatia3.2%
7🇮🇹 Italy3.3%
8🇳🇴 Norway4.5%
9🇩🇰 Denmark5.8%
10🇵🇹 Portugal6.1%
OECD Average11.6%

Notably, eight of the top 10 countries with the smallest gender pay gaps are located in Europe, as labor equality laws designed to target gender differences have begun to pay off.

The two other countries that made the list were Costa Rica (1.4%) and Colombia (1.9%), which came in third and fourth place, respectively.

How Did Luxembourg (Nearly) Eliminate its Gender Wage Gap?

Luxembourg’s virtually-non-existent gender wage gap in 2020 can be traced back to its diligent efforts to prioritize equal pay. Since 2016, firms that have not complied with the Labor Code’s equal pay laws have been subjected to penalizing fines ranging from €251 to €25,000.

Higher female education rates also contribute to the diminishing pay gap, with Luxembourg tied for first in the educational attainment rankings of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index Report for 2023.

See More Graphics about Demographics and Money

While these 10 countries are well below the OECD’s average gender pay gap of 11.6%, many OECD member countries including the U.S. are significantly above the average. To see the full list of the top 10 OECD countries with the largest gender pay gaps, check out this visualization.

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