The racial wealth gap has been measured and studied for decades. One fact has remained the same: White families build and accumulate more wealth more quickly than black and brown families do.
The reasons for this are multiple and well-documented. They start at slavery and traverse the historical and deliberate exclusion of people of color from the economic institutions and government programs that helped white Americans build wealth and pass it on to successive generations. Segregation and redlining by banks made it impossible for many black and Latino families to secure mortgages, for example. The GI Bill, which helped establish an American middle class by helping veterans pay for college and buy homes after World War II, mostly excluded people of color.
The results are stark.
In 2013, the median white family held 13 times as much net wealth as the median black family and 10 times as much wealth as the median Latino family, according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. Just a decade earlier, the disparity was 7 to 1 for black families, and 9 to 1 for Latino families.
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