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St. Louis Fed Discusses the Role of Education in Wealth Accumulation


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis will host a breakfast on Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Springfield, Mo., to discuss the growing divide between financial “thrivers” and “strugglers” in the United States, and the role education plays in American families’ ability to build wealth.                               

Ray Boshara, the director of the Bank’s Center for Household Financial Stability, will open the event with a talk and Q&A on the second essay in the center’s Demographics of Wealth essay series. The series revealed that a widening of the gap between thrivers and strugglers is being driven by demographic factors—race and ethnicity, education and age—and has resulted in two-thirds of the country’s wealth being concentrated amongst one-third of the population. The second essay in the series examined how education affects wealth, and found that education and wealth are highly-correlated. However, correlation does not mean causation because several other factors contribute to increased educational attainment such as one’s native ability, family background and health.

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

  • John Jungmann, superintendent of the Springfield Public Schools,
  • Francine Pratt, executive director of Multicultural Programs at Missouri State University, and 
  • Dana Carroll, Springfield's child advocate for The Every Child Promise.

Titled “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 breakfast will be held at 7:30 a.m. (CST) at Ozark Technical Community College—1001 East Chestnut Expressway, Springfield, Mo. A complimentary continental breakfast will be served.

This event is free; however, registration is required by Tuesday, June 9, as space is limited.

The event is open to media. However, members of the media must register with Maria Hasenstab, senior media relations specialist at the St. Louis Fed, at or 314-444-8321.