Estimated per capita stock market wealth in Oklahoma is approaching the national average, a feat rarely accomplished in the state’s economic history.
Average stock market wealth of Oklahomans rose sharply beginning in the mid-1980s, but for years it remained well behind the national average, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. The state’s real stock market wealth has grown more than 500 percent since 1984.
“It’s a bigger part of people’s wealth than it was in the past, especially in Oklahoma,” Federal Reserve Oklahoma City Branch Executive and economist Chad Wilkerson said.
Oklahoma’s per capita stock market wealth was slightly more than the national average for the first time during the oil boom from 2009 to 2013. As of the last year where data could be constructed, 2016, Oklahoma once again was behind the national average, however the gap was less than it was during pre-boom years. This improvement coincided with a general increase in per capita incomes in the state, according to the Oklahoma Economist for the third quarter of 2017.
“Stock market wealth data at the state level are not available,” Wilkerson wrote for the publication. “However, such data can be estimated … using this method, per capita stock market wealth in Oklahoma in 2016 was just over $125,000, compared with slightly more than $135,000 in the entire nation.”
Continued economic growth in the past year leads Wilkerson to believe the gap might have closed even more since 2016.
“I’d be hesitant to say much,” Wilkerson said. “But the economy in Oklahoma has done much better in the past year … so I would guess we’ve probably caught up even more.”
This wealth, similar to trends across the rest of the country, is held by higher-income Oklahomans. It is estimated Oklahomans with adjusted gross income of $200,000 or more — about 3 percent of tax filers in the state — account for 58 percent of stock dividend income.
Nationally, where more recent data is available, the stock market and home price gains are showing healthy growth. U.S. stock portfolios jumped $1.3 trillion in the fourth quarter 2017 compared to the previous three months, according to the Federal Reserve. Home values increased $500 billion in that time.
The figures are at record highs, but are not adjusted for inflation or population growth.
Overall U.S. wealth has grown steadily since the recession ended nearly nine years ago, but it isn’t widely shared. Edward Wolff, an economist at New York University, calculates that in 2016, average household wealth had fully recovered from the Great Recession and was 7 percent higher than it had been in 2007.
But median wealth was still 34 percent below its pre-recession level, Wolff calculated. The median is the point where half of households are richer, and half poorer, and gives a better sense of how typical families have fared. Average wealth was pulled up by the richest households.
Yet the Fed’s report also shows that U.S. households are still in decent financial shape. The combined value of mortgage and consumer debt was equal to 95.7 percent of Americans’ after-tax incomes, little changed from the previous quarter.
Just before the recession, ballooning mortgage debt from the housing bubble had lifted that figure to nearly 125 percent.
CONTRIBUTING: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
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