Affordable Housing, Community Development, Homelessness

Racial Wealth Gap Worse than Racial Income Gap

Urban Institute

A new report reveals that the racial wealth gap is three times larger than the racial income gap. In Less Than Equal: Racial Disparities in Wealth Accumulation, the Urban Institute finds that wealth disparities have widened over the past 30 years, with the Great Recession contributing to the gap.

While high-wealth families (top 20 percent) saw their wealth increase by almost 120 percent between 1983 and 2010, middle-wealth families experienced a 13 percent increase and lowest-wealth families (bottom 20 percent) experienced negative growth with their debts exceeding their assets. In 2010, whites, on average, had six times the wealth of blacks and Hispanics. Additionally, the racial wealth gap grows with age because white households are more likely than black and Hispanic households to have retirement accounts and to own homes.

The report brings attention to the importance wealth plays in the financial well-being of a household, not just household income. In an effort promote wealth building for all households, the Urban Institute included policy recommendations such as reforming certain tax deductions and creating more automatic savings programs.

Read the full report - Less Than Equal: Racial Disparities in Wealth Accumulation



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