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St. Louis Fed Discusses Demographics of Wealth and the Future of American Families


ST. LOUIS — The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis will host a luncheon on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in Owensboro, Ky., to discuss the growing divide between financial “thrivers” and “strugglers” in the United States, and how race, education and age are increasingly becoming determining factors between these two groups.

William R. Emmons, a senior economic adviser at the Bank’s Center for Household Financial Stability, will open the event with a talk and Q&A on an essay series the center is producing on the role race and ethnicity, education and age play in American families’ ability to accumulate wealth. The research has found that the growing divide is being driven by these demographic factors and has resulted in two-thirds of the country’s wealth being concentrated amongst one-fourth of the population.

Emmons’ presentation will be followed by a panel discussion with local community stakeholders about how these national trends are taking shape in the Owensboro area. Panelists include:

  • Sylvia Coleman, Executive Director of the Owensboro Human Relations Commission
  • Fred May, Community President for U.S. Bank’s Owensboro Branch
  • Susan Montalvo Gesser, Lawyer for the Kentucky Legal Aid
  • Brandon Harley, the Kentucky Division of Protection and Permanency

Entitled “The Demographics of Wealth: How Age, Education and Race Separate Thrivers from Strugglers in Today’s Economy,” the essay series is the result of analysis of data collected between 1989 and 2013 through the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances, including interviews with more than 40,000 heads of households. The first and second essays were released in February and May, and looked at the roles of race and ethnicity, and education, respectively. The final essay on age will be released later this summer.

The luncheon will be held at the Holiday Inn Owensboro, Riverfront Hotel—701 West 1st Street, Owensboro, Ky.—at 11:30 a.m. CST. A complimentary lunch will be served.

The event is open to media. However, members of the media wanting to attend must register with Ryan FitzGibbon, senior media relations specialist at the St. Louis Fed, at or 314-444-8783.