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Have you ever heard the statistic that 40% of Americans couldn’t come up with $400 in an emergency? Did you hear Vice President Kamala Harris’ recent statement that “Most Americans are a $400 expense away from bankruptcy”? In another instance, she said that “the average American was a $400 expense away from bankruptcy.”

These all come from a yearly survey that the Federal Reserve does called the Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking (SHED). But, none of these states really understands what the underlying data really says. SHED is a powerful tool for understanding what is happening to American households, but it’s only as useful as it is understood.

If you want to learn more about the Fed’s Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking, you can learn more at their website.

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Nathan Foley