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: The Survey of Consumer Finance gives insight into family income and Social Security More
Posted: 11.6.2014 5:39PM
News Reuters: The SCF talks about student loans, debt, and home ownership More
Posted: 10.30.2014 3:35PM
News The Huffington Post: The Survey of Consumer Finance gives insight into to wealth and family More
Posted: 10.3.2014 5:06PM
News Brookings: The Survey of Consumer Finance shows how many Americans have retirement savings and assets More
Posted: 7.10.2014 5:11PM
News Forbes: The Survey of Consumer Finance looks in to the struggle surrounding student debt More
Posted: 7.8.2014 4:50PM

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