American households with savings accounts have a median balance of $5,200 and an average balance of $33,766.49, according to analysis of data collected by the Federal Reserve. The median figure gives the best approximation of what most Americans have saved, since the average is heavily skewed by high-income outliers with large deposits. To get a better idea of how much different Americans have put away in their saving account, we analyzed the data across different cross-sections and demographics, including age, income, gender and ethnicity.
- Median Savings Account Balance
- History of Average Savings Balances in America
Average Savings Account Balance in the United States
The median savings account balance of $5,200 was calculated from over 6,000 weighted responses to the 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances, a triennial survey run by the U.S. Federal Reserve. This figure only reflects responses from households that had active savings accounts at the time of the survey. The weighted average savings account balance was $33,766.49.
|Year||Median Savings Balance||3-Year Change in Median Balance||Average Savings Balance|
The typical American savings account balance changed substantially over time. While the total amount of savings account deposits has been constantly increasing over time, the distribution of that total has varied widely, as seen in the disparity between average and median savings balance figures above.
Median Savings Account Balance by Income
Unsurprisingly, the median size of household savings account balances was most heavily influenced by income. American households with more income have exponentially larger savings account balances compared to households in lower income groups. The biggest jump in average savings was reported by participants with incomes greater than $160,000 - likely due to may be due the presence of high-income outliers in this bracket. However, while median savings balances grew more similar among older households, the difference became more pronounced among higher-income households.
Individuals in the lowest income bracket were also the ones least likely to have an open savings account. Just 30% of those surveyed with an income of $25,000 or less had one. More than half of households making $70k+ had a savings account.
Savings Account Balance by Age
Generally, the older an individual is, the higher their average savings account balance is likely to be. The median balance increases among households headed by older individuals.
The median savings balance for Americans under 35 years old was $1,580. The average balance of these younger households stood at $9,735.8. The largest increase between age groups occurred between those under 35 and households with adults aged 35 to 44, with a gap of $3,420 between the median savings account balances of those two age groups.
Median Savings Account Balance by Gender
When comparing the median savings balance between households headed by males and females, we found another large difference: households headed by men reported a median savings account balance of $7,000, more than three times the median of $2,000 for households led by women.
As with other demographic categories, the average savings account balance was higher than the median for both males and females, which reported average balances of $23,505.12 and $11,544.64 respectively. In addition, 4,592 of the responding households were male-headed, as opposed to just 1,423 with female heads.
It's also worth noting that a slightly greater proportion of female-headed households did not have a savings account at all. Roughly half of all male-headed households in the survey reported having a savings account, compared to just 45% of female-headed households.
Median Savings Account Balance by Race
According to the data collected by the Federal Reserve in 2013, the median balance for black and Hispanic households with savings accounts were significantly lower than the median balance for white non-Hispanics.
These differences is partially be fueled by differences in income among these races. According to the Census Bureau's report on poverty, white households had a median income of $57,009 as of 2012. Hispanic and black households had median incomes of $39,005 and $33,321 respectively. As noted previously, income is the strongest factor influencing savings.
Historical Trends in the Average U.S. Savings Account Balance
The total amount of American savings account deposits has seen constant increase since 1959, the earliest date for which the Federal Reserve has data.
Since the economic crisis in late 2008, there has been a noticeable uptick in the growth of total savings deposits. U.S. savings deposits in December 2008 stood at $4.1 trillion, having grown 29% over the previous 5 years. Over the next 5 years, total savings deposits grew by 74%, reaching about $7.1 trillion in 2013. The increased pace of growth in savings deposits has barely slowed, with the St. Louis Federal Reserve reporting a total of $8.7 trillion in American savings accounts for September 2016.
However, the positive trend for total savings deposits does not imply that the majority of American households are saving more. The median American savings account balance actually decreased between the 2010 and 2007, only to resume increasing in 2013. The unsteady behavior of the median balance, noted at the beginning of this article, contradicts the idea that growth in total savings was distributed evenly among all households.
Since 2009, the FDIC has also published a weekly table of national average rates on deposit accounts.
The swift decline in interest rates on savings has not halted or slowed the growth of the savings account balance total in the U.S. Even as the national rate was continuously falling from 2009, when record-keeping began, until settling at 0.06% APY by 2013, the sum of all savings deposits continued to grow at the same pace.