New Report Examines the Persisting Racial Wealth Gap Among U.S. Households

A new report from the Center for American Progress finds that the racial gap in wealth is widening. The report finds that in 2016 the median wealth of Black households led by a person who was at least 25 years old was $13,460. For similar White households the median wealth was $142,180.

How is this relevant to higher education? Components of family wealth, such as stocks, bonds, money in the bank, and real estate, produce interest, dividends, or rental income which are commonly used to offset or pay college costs. Wealth also includes the value of a family’s home. This important asset can be sold or borrowed against to provide funds for college expenses.

The report also found that the median wealth of Black households led by a college graduate had median wealth of only 70 percent of White households led by a person without a college degree. And the median wealth for a Black household led by a person with a college degree was $57,250. For White households led by a person with a college degree the median wealth was $325,600.

The study found that 66 percent of White households had retirement savings investments compared to less than 38 percent of Black households. Nearly 72 percent of Whites owned their home compared to 41 percent of Blacks. Nearly 20 percent of Whites owned a business compared to less than 8 percent of Blacks.

The full report, “Systematic Inequality: How America’s Structural Racism Helped Create the Black-White Wealth Gap,” may be found here.

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