A typical white family is now five times richer than its African-American counterpart of the same class, according to a report released today by Brandeis University in Massachusetts.
I am putting the World Wealth distribution figures along side to show that poor people at the midpoint level of many very poor countries are able to accumulate more wealth than African-Americans with far higher incomes. This predominantly has to do with not understanding how to save and invest and avoiding high interest credit card debt and depreciating assets (like cars and electronics). I am aware of immigrant families from Vietnam who moved to the United States and then two or three families moved into one house that they purchased and then sold after a few years of appreciation with enough accumulated net worth for each family to buy their own home.
From 1984-2007, the racial wealth gap increased by $75,000 – from $20,000 to $95,000. Financial assets, excluding home equity, among white families grew from a median value of $22,000 to $100,000 during that period while African Americans saw very little increase in assets in real dollars and had a median wealth of $5,000 in 2007 (up from $2000 in 1984).NOTE: The asset figures seem more than five times.
The Guardian UK has coverage
* wealth among the highest-income African-Americans has actually fallen in recent years, dropping from a peak of $25,000 to about $18,000, while among white counterparts of similar class and income it has surged to around $240,000
* Only one in 10 African-Americans owns any shares. A third do not have a pension plan, and among those who do the value is on average a fifth of plans held by whites
* In African-American families there is a much larger extended network of kin as well as other obligations. From other work we've done we know that there's more call on the resources of relatively well-off African-American families; that they lend money that's not given back; they help cousins go to school. They help brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, with all kinds of legal and family problems
World Household Wealth Distribution (2008 UN Study)
The World Distribution of Household Wealth (26 page study)
Tom Shapiro website
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