Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF)

Sponsored by the Federal Reserve Board, this triennial survey is the only fully representative source of information on the broad financial circumstances of U.S. households. The SCF is unique. No other survey collects data on the household finances of a probability sample of Americans.  Data from the SCF are used to inform monetary policy, tax policy, consumer protection, and a variety of other policy issues. The data also serve as a basis for longer-term research on the economic state of the American family. The survey is thus of enormous consequence not only to the Board, which commissions it and has developed and shaped it, but also to millions of US taxpayers who have no idea of its existence.

The contents of the survey are of both a highly sensitive and technical nature. This instrument includes questions about the following:

  • Attitudes and Financial Institutions
  • Credit Attitudes and Credit Cards
  • Principal Residences and Lines of Credit
  • Real Estate and Loans to Others
  • Businesses
  • Vehicles
  • Education Loans
  • Other Loans
  • Attitudes about Savings
  • Financial Assets
  • Work and Pension
  • Income, Taxes, and Support
  • Inheritances and Charity
  • Demographics, Health, and Independent HH Members
  • Finances of Independent Household Members

In 2009, a re-interview was conducted with the respondents to the 2007 survey in order to assess the effects of the economic downturn in 2008. In prior rounds of the survey NORC conducted 4,500 interviews; the 2010 triennial survey collected detailed financial information from more than 6,500 respondents. The 2013 round of the SCF will collect data from 6,100 respondents beginning in April.

Headlines

News The Washington Post: Survey of Consumer Finance data gives insight in to age and wealth More
Posted: 3.5.2014 6:06PM
News Business Insider: The Survey of Consumer Finance's data and findings help show where millionaires are in the U.S. More
Posted: 1.22.2014 5:34PM
News The New York Times: The Survey of Consumer Finance looks at mortgage debts for retirees More
Posted: 10.7.2013 1:52PM
News The New York Times: Looking at the net worth of younger households with SCF data and statistics More
Posted: 6.17.2013 4:32PM
News The Economist: Savings as precaution, with Survey of Consumer Finance data More
Posted: 4.4.2013 4:36PM

Project Director

Catherine C. Haggerty

(312) 759-4065

Principal Investigators

Arthur Kennickell

John Sabelhaus   

Senior Staff

Steven Pedlow

Steven Pedlow
Senior Survey Statistician

Fritz Scheuren

Fritz Scheuren
Senior Fellow and Vice President