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Press Release

Owning a Business or Real Estate Tends to Boost Family Wealth Mobility Even Over Short Time Periods, FRBC Researchers Find

Families that have made considerable jumps up and down the economic mobility ladder within periods as short as one year have tended to own riskier assets like real estate or a business, according to an Economic Commentary by Federal Research Bank of Cleveland researchers Daniel Carroll and Ross Cohen-Kristiansen.

Their findings dovetail with earlier research that found that family wealth mobility in both directions over a 10-year span corresponded with ownership of businesses and real estate, as well as stocks.

“Ownership of businesses and real estate tends to be associated with greater mobility over shorter
intervals, particularly greater upward mobility,” Carroll and Cohen-Kristiansen wrote. 

Their research examined wealth mobility over one-year and three-year intervals between 2013 and 2016. 

The findings come against a backdrop of lower overall economic mobility among families over the past 30 years.

Understanding why that mobility has declined requires an inspection of the various assets and debts that comprise family wealth, the authors wrote.

Read the Economic Commentary: An Update on Wealth Mobility

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that along with the Board of Governors in Washington DC comprise the Federal Reserve System. Part of the US central bank, the Cleveland Fed participates in the formulation of our nation’s monetary policy, supervises banking organizations, provides payment and other services to financial institutions and to the US Treasury, and performs many activities that support Federal Reserve operations System-wide. In addition, the Bank supports the well-being of communities across the Fourth Federal Reserve District through a wide array of research, outreach, and educational activities.

The Cleveland Fed, with branches in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, serves an area that comprises Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Media contact

Doug Campbell,, 513.455.4479