August 8, 2020

The average American savings balance by age, household size, and education level

[Business Insider, Getty Images]

  • The average American family has $40,000 in liquid savings, across savings and checking accounts, according to data from the Federal Reserve’s 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances.
  • Many factors impact the amount the typical American actually has saved, including age, household size, education level, and even whether or not you own a home. 

According to data from the Federal Reserve’s 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances, the average American family has $40,000 in savings, across savings accounts, checking accounts, money market accounts, call deposit accounts, and prepaid cards. 

Note that this number is an average, not a median, which means it can be skewed by households with especially high or low balances. This number does not include investment balances, like money held in a retirement account or other brokerage account, or any equity held in real property, like a house.

When you look a little closer at the data, there are several factors that influence how much an American household actually has saved.

Average American savings balance by age

Older Americans tend to have more cash in the bank than younger Americans. The average person between the ages of 55 to 64 has $47,600 more than the average person under age 35. However, average savings account balances start to decline after age 70.

Here’s how the average savings balances break down by age group, according to Federal Reserve data: 

Age groupAverage balance
Under 35$9,600
35 to 44$25,000
45 to 54$40,900
55 to 64$57,200
65 to 74$67,700
75 or older $51,400

Average American savings balance by household size

Kids and marriages tend to dramatically change a family’s household savings balance. 

On average, single-parent households tend to have the lowest average savings balances, while couples without children tend to have the highest average savings balances. 

Type of household Average savings balance
Single, no children$13,300
Single with one or more child$11,700
Couple, no children$66,000
Couple with one or more child$42,800

Average American savings balance by race

A large racial wealth gap still exists in America, from income to household wealth. 

For years, many American banks denied mortgages to Black people, preventing them from buying homes in certain neighborhoods in a process known as redlining. Home ownership is one of the main ways Americans develop wealth. 

As Business Insider’s Marguerite Ward reports, “The median white family had more than 10 times the wealth of the median Black family in 2016.” And, that gap has gotten wider since 1970.

According to data from the Federal Reserve, that gap flows into savings balances as well.

Race of respondentAverage savings balance
Black $8,600
For every $100 in wealth held by a white family, a Black family has just $10, per research from the Fed’s 2017

Average American savings balance by education level

As a family’s education level increases, so does the average savings balance. People who earned a high school diploma have an average savings balance double that of those who haven’t. Similarly, people with a college degree have an average savings balance about five times greater than that of someone who only completed high school. 

Here’s how education affects savings balance, according to the 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances

Highest education level completedAverage savings balance
No high school diploma$7,600
High school diploma$16,700
Some college$18,900
College degree$85,600

Average American savings balance by homeownership

People who own homes tend to have a higher net worth than those who rent, and that’s in part because of the home’s value. But, it appears that homeowners save more, too — on average, people who own homes have more cash in the bank than those who rent, according to Federal Reserve data.

Housing typeAverage savings balance
Nan Palmero/Flikcr

By Liz Knueven

Leave a Reply