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By
Esubalew Dadi
|
September 13, 2016

Opportunity gap steadily growing in US

Opportunity gap steadily growing in US

Public policies have failed us in ensuring racial wealth equality and equity, especially between White households and households of color, according to a new report from Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) and Institute for Policy Studies. They report that “if average Black family wealth continues to grow at the same pace it has over the past three decades, it would take Black families 228 years to amass the same amount of wealth White families have today.”

The wealth divide and opportunity gap between White households and Latino/a and Black households are steadily growing in the country even though people of color are projected to be the majority of the U.S population by 2043, according to the report.

Among the major findings of the report:

  • America’s richest 400 individuals with a collective net worth of $2.34 trillion now own more wealth than the entire black population plus one-third of the Latino population combined.
  • over the past 30 years, the average wealth of White families has grown by 84%—1.2 times the rate of growth for the Latino population and three times the rate of growth for the Black population. If the past 30 years were to repeat, the next three decades would see the average wealth of White households increase by over $18,000 per year, while Latino and Black households would see their respective wealth increase by about $2,250 and $750 per year.
  • The glaring disparities in wealth between the White population and the Latinos and Black population is not accidental rather it is fueled by our own past and present public policies and wealth-building programs, such as past discriminatory homeownership policies and present day federal spending on tax programs to help families to save for retirement, purchase home, start a business or access higher education, which disproportionately benefits the wealthy than the working poor families. These policies widen the economic gap between white households and households of color, and between the wealthy and everybody else.

The report suggested that, wealth- which includes money in the bank, a first time home, a college degree, retirement savings and all the other countless opportunities afforded by having savings and investments—is key for families to get through difficult circumstances, and empowers and propels them to climb the economic ladder, to effectively get ahead.

Significant policy reforms are imperative to fix the very public policies and unfair wealth-building programs which have contributed to the current wealth gap, the report concludes.

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