White families are generally better off financially than blacks and Latinos. But why? A new report by the Federal Reserve looks at several different factors that contribute to the massive racial wealth gap, which has changed little over the last 25 years.
If anything, the gulf has gotten wider since the Great Recession, when people of color were hit the hardest and lost a larger share of their net worth.
In 2013, the lack of home ownership and other assets accounted for most of the wealth gap between white and black families, according to a new report by two economists with the Federal Reserve Board. The report also found that education is the largest factor in the wealth gap between white and Latino families. The report’s findings are based on the annual Federal Reserve Board’s Survey of Consumer Finances (Asian families were not included in the analysis).
Here are five other things we know:
- White families have more property. In 2013, the average white family had assets worth 5.4 times the assets of the average black family and 4.7 times the assets of the average Latino family.
- Latinos and African Americans have less debt than white people. The average white family had $102,002 worth of debt in 2013, about double that of black and Latino families.
- White families have a higher net worth. In 2013, the average white family’s net worth was 7.2 times that of the average black family. That gulf has increased since 1989, when the average white family had 5.5 times the net worth of the average black family.
- Latinos are the least likely to receive an inheritance. In 2013, only 5.5 percent said they had ever received an inheritance, compared to 10.6 percent of black families and 22.9 percent of white families.
- White people inherit a lot more money. White families have received inheritances nearly three times larger than those of black and Latino families. The average white family has inherited a total of $236,495, compared to $82,940 for black families and $85,698 for Latino families.
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.