Thursday, June 24, 2004


How rich are we? The BEA's "Net Stock of Fixed Reproducible Tangible Wealth" series has recently been updated to 2000 and can be found at Table 679 at

Looking at 1980-2000 growth (in chained 1996 dollars), net U.S. wealth had grown from $14.269 trillion to $26.680 trillion, up 87%.

The breakdown for 2000 was:

Private 70%

Nonresidential equipment and software 16%
Nonresidential structures 21%
Residential structures 33%

Government 18%

Federal 5%
State and Local 14%

Consumer Durable Goods 11%

Not clear why the last entry is separate from private.

The fastest growing of these over the last twenty years was consumer durables, just beating out nonresidential equipment and software.

Milton Friedman has written, that all things considered, about half of U.S. GDP is directly or indirectly controlled by governments. That's depressing but there may be a better story when we focus on wealth.