In the aftermath of the housing crisis, many young households lost a great deal of wealth in the downturn when compared to middle-aged and older households.

At the Federal Reserve System Community Development Research Conference, William Emmons, assistant vice president and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, said about three-quarters of the average young family’s wealth declined between 2007 and 2010 due to its exposure to residential real estate.

Meanwhile, Emmons said middle-aged and older housing losses represented about 53% and 40% of the total, respectively.

Even before the crisis, young families, those headed by someone under 40, that chose to become homeowners typically had higher balance-sheet leverage and greater portfolio concentration in housing than older homeowners, causing them to be more vulnerable.

Additionally, Emmons explained the significant drop in house-price declines hit young families’ balance sheets especially hard, contributing to their loss.

Due to all the financial troubles facing young families, it will take years to heal, hindering the entire housing market and the economy, Emmons said.