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Why the wealth gap between young and old is wider than ever

In all, the typical household headed by someone younger than 35 has seen its net worth fall by 68 percent between 1984 and 2009, after adjusting for inflation, according to the Pew report released Monday. Those in the 35-to-44 age group also saw a decline in net worth over that period, a drop of 44 percent.

By contrast, older households posted gains in wealth over the past quarter century. Net worth rose 42 percent for households headed by someone 65 or older. Other age categories saw either a modest gain (10 percent for those age 55 to 64) or a modest decline (10 percent for those age 45 to 54). Overall, the median US household posted a 10 percent gain.
What explains this big divergence?

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