Apropos of nothing other than my constant pursuit of social and economic justice bumping into my constant pursuit of interesting data, here’s a figure I made for a presentation the other day that warrants a broader look. It compares the economic resources of non-whites—mostly blacks and Hispanics—to those of non-Hispanic whites, looking at both median income and net worth. The latter concept is a family’s assets minus its liabilities, including housing wealth, which is the largest wealth component for most families in the middle of the income scale.
The income ratio is about two-thirds; the wealth ratio about 15%. Just a pretty potent reminder that when you’re talking about racial disparities, the largest differences—the ones that really take account of the legacy of discrimination—are the ones that compare wealth, not income.
But is this just a 2010 story, given the loss of housing wealth when the bubble burst? Nope. By these data, that implosion was not particularly racist: the net worth of both whites and non-whites and non-whites fell by about 30% in real terms, 2007-10, so the net worth ratio didn’t change much.
Source: Survey of Consumer Finances