Many households in the United States have been tested by the Great Recession. Large-scale financial strain at the household level ultimately fed into broader economic challenges for the country, and the completion of the national recovery will ultimately be, in part, a reflection of the well-being of households and consumers. Because households' finances can change at a rapid pace and new opportunities and risks may emerge, such recovery can be complex to monitor.
To better understand the financial state of U.S. households, the Federal Reserve Board conducted a new consumer survey, the results of which are described in this report. The Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking (SHED) was conducted by the Board's Division of Consumer and Community Affairs in September 2013 using a nationally representative online survey panel. The purpose of the SHED was to capture a snapshot of the financial and economic well-being of U.S. households and the issues they face, as well as to monitor their recovery from the Great Recession and identify perceived risks to their financial stability. It further collected information on households that was no readily available from other sources or was not available in combination with other variables of interest.