New graph shows persistent wealth and income gaps by race

August 23, 2012 at 11:57 am

Telltale Chart has another great interactive graph showing the gap between whites and non-whites when it comes to income and assets. What is particularly striking is the difference between the gap in income and the gap in net worth. While there  have been some improvements over the past few decades in closing the income gap, the gap in net worth is still huge.

The Telltale Chart site will allow you to access the interactive graph, where you can chose between different variables, such as income, net worth and various asset types, and different years from 1989 to 2010. The pictures below are screen shots of the graph showing two options: median income and median net worth for whites and non whites (click on the photos to enlarge them). Although there is a gap in median income throughout the years, it does improve up to 2007. It dips in 2010, which is consistent with the Great Recession and its impacts, particularly on people of color.

When you switch to median net worth, however, the gap becomes more of a chasm. The net worth of white families was between 5 and 6 percent times higher (roughly) than the net worth of non-white families between 1992 and 2010. Between 1992 and 2007, the net worth of white families grew consistently and over that time increased by 69 percent. By contrast, the net worth of non-white families only grew by 39 percent in the same time period.

This graph helps to illustrate the serious economic divisions that persist in our communities. In every kind of asset shown on the graph, families of color fall behind white families. While income provides one indicator of the financial viability of households and families, building assets is important in measuring their long-term financial and economic stability. This affects the individual families, but also entire neighborhoods and communities. Building assets and wealth– not just income– are key building blocks for stable and economically healthy communities.

Entry filed under: Economic Development, Economy. Tags: .

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