The housing bust cut the median household net worth to $66,740 as of 2010 from $102,844 in 2005, according to Census Bureau data released Monday.
“The overall decline in net worth reflects drops in housing values and stock market indices,” said Census Bureau Economist Alfred Gottschalck.
Middle-class Americans of all age groups and education levels suffered the worst blow because so much of their net worth is tied to the equity in their home. National home prices remain 35% below the peak in 2006, according to the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index.
Excluding equity, the median net worth actually increased to $15,000 in 2010 from $13,859 in 2009.
Some lost a much larger percentage of their worth than others.
Households between the ages of 35 and 44 saw net worth slashed by 59%, compared to a 37% decline for those younger than 35 and a 13% drop for those aged 65 years or older.
Those with a high school diploma saw net worth fall 39%. But even those with a bachelor’s degree had a 32% decline.
In 2000, those who completed college had twice as much net worth as those who did not. In 2010, the gap was 3.5 times as large.