REPORT: Bootstraps are for Black Kids

Bootstraps Are For Black Kids: Race, Wealth, and the Impact of Intergenerational Transfers on Adult Outcomes

A new study released today shows that—despite a close to 19 to 1 racial difference in median wealth—black parents demonstrate an outsized commitment to using their limited resources to invest in their children’s education. And that investment pays off; bringing their children to near parity in terms of educational achievement with their white counterparts.

The new study shows black families contribute to higher education with a median net worth of only 24K while white families provide support with a much higher median net worth of more than 168K.

Bootstraps Are For Black Kids: Race, Wealth, and the Impact of Intergenerational Transfers on Adult Outcomes,” is co-authored by William Darity, Duke University; Darrick Hamilton, The New School; Yunju Nam, University at Buffalo, State University of New York; and Anne Price, of The Insight Center for Community Economic Development.

“Data on intergenerational transfers of economic resources for higher education is limited,” said Darity, co-author and director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke. “However, this type of parental financial support might ultimately prove to be a decisive factor determining the racial wealth gap in the next generation.”

The study is based on the 2013 Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) that found that the racial wealth gap might be one of the main mechanisms for perpetuating economic inequality. Using PSID data collected between 1982 and 2013, “Bootstraps Are For Black Kids” researchers began to investigate the relationships between parental income and wealth, parental financial support, and their child’s economic achievement. The study distinguished three types of parental financial support – support for higher education, support for homeownership, and support for “other purposes.”

Researchers found that parental financial support for education has the strongest positive association with adult outcomes among the three categories. Blacks and whites who received any parental support for education experience better outcomes than their counterparts who never received such support for every outcome examined: educational attainment, home ownership, income, and wealth.

“Black parents who are able to contribute to their child’s education are better able to transfer their own socioeconomic status to the next generation,” said Price, managing director and chief asset officer for the Insight Center. “However, it’s important to remember that while parental support for education lowers black/white disparities in education and home ownership, there is little variation in racial gaps in income and wealth.”

Despite the findings that over half of the blacks who received parental help have a graduate education, stark racial differences in both income and net worth persist. Among those who received financial support from parents, the median income is $98,066 for whites and $69,306 for blacks; median net worth is $63,000 and $35,996, respectively.

Parents of both races who are able to help fund their children’s education are better off financially, yet black parents who do so have nearly half of the income of their white counterparts. For example, the median income for white parents who provide educational help to their children is $84,597; for blacks, the median income is $43,103.

Click here to download the complete study.



REPORT: The Unmet Legal Needs of America’s Small Business Community

Today the Insight Center for Community Economic Development released a new report titled “The Unmet Legal Needs of America’s Small Business Community.” The report was prepared in collaboration with Chris Pierce-Wright, law student at the University of Washington, under the supervision of our Chief Legal Officer Brad Caftel,

The report describes the gap in meeting the need for low-cost transactional legal services, using Los Angeles and Seattle data as examples of the size of the small business community. Small businesses are an essential element to building opportunities in low- and middle-income neighborhoods, especially for historically marginalized women and minority owners. More accessible legal services for small businesses addresses a market need and serves social justice ends. The report concludes that mission-driven, low-profit law providers could play an important role in expanding this area of legal practice, bolstering local growth, and facilitating economic and social goals.

Download the full report here (0.5 MB PDF).

REPORT: Promoting Family Economic Security in the San Francisco Bay Area Region

1a9787f9-20c6-45c7-9db3-f29218f39f54At the inaugural Poverty to Prosperity Conference, Rise Together Bay Area — a collective initiative of 180+ business, government, nonprofit and philanthropic representatives — released a new report by the Insight Center for Community Economic Development with data representations from the UC Berkeley Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, titled “Promoting Family Economic Security in the San Francisco Bay Area Region.

This landmark study highlights the depth and breadth of poverty in the Bay Area in new and compelling ways, tests various types of pro-prosperity supports through economic microsimulations, and presents a set of research-grounded strategies for implementing a pro-prosperity agenda.

The report also makes available 110+ maps developed by the UC Berkeley Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, documenting levels of poverty and opportunity across the region.

Download the report here (1.6 MB PDF without appendices).

Download the full report here (18 MB PDF).

Style Guide: Winning Word for Closing the Racial Wealth Gap

The Insight Center has partnered with Anat Shenker-Osorio to create a style guide that helps us use human terms about wealth accumulation and wealth inequality and speak from a model of inequality as a barrier. Anat demonstrates that communicating effectively – conveying that inequality is a product of our economic and political systems and that racism is a real factor – requires overcoming default reasoning that consequences that befall individuals are due to their efforts or traits. Most Americans have trouble seeing and acknowledging long-lasting historic crimes and existing racism. While these factors pose formidable challenges to saying what we mean and getting heard, both Alan and Anat are teaching us to be more effective in reaching our targeted audiences.

Also, you can find another language tool Anat has worked on with the Center for Community Change to launch a bold new campaign to confront poverty in America.

REPORT: Umbrellas Don’t Make It Rain

Read Umbrellas Don't Make it Rain: Why Studying and Working Hard Isn't Enough for Black Americans

In April, Experts of Color Network Members Darrick HamiltonSandy DarityAnne Price, and Vishnu Sridharan published an important new report titled Umbrellas Don’t Make it Rain: Why Studying and Working Hard Isn’t Enough for Black Americans.

This report challenges America’s egalitarian promise of opportunity and individual agency. Research and public policy have traditionally focused on education and income as drivers of upward mobility. Umbrellas Don’t Make it Rain reveals that it’s the unearned birthright of inheritance or other family transfers that has the greatest effect on wealth accumulation, and likewise is the largest factor erecting barriers to wealth accumulation for people of color.

Click here to download the full report…

2016 Annual Report + Newsletters

Annual Report

02/10/2016 – Gratitude Report


12/16/16 – December Newsletter | A Time for Reflection

11/30/16 – November Newsletter

11/03/16 – October Newsletter

09/30/16 – September Newsletter

08/31/16 – August Newsletter

07/06/16 – June Newsletter

06/07/2016 – May Newsletter

04/29/2016 – April Newsletter

04/01/2016 – March Newsletter

02/29/2016 – February Newsletter

2015 Annual Report + Newsletters


12/18/2015 – December Newsletter – Happiest + Healthiest

11/30/2015 – November Newsletter – Giving Season is here!

10/22/2015 – October Newsletter – The End of Work

09/25/2015 – September Newsletter – New Look, New Tools

08/27/2015 – Summer Newsletter 

07/16/2015 – June Newsletter – Mid-Year Report

05/28/2015 – May Newsletter – Measuring Economic Security

05/12/2015 – April Newsletter – A Capitol Convening on Inclusive Capitalism

03/25/2015 – March Newsletter – Inclusive Competitiveness

02/24/2015 – February Newsletter – Big Changes for the Nation and for the Insight Center

01/22/2015 – January Newsletter – Forward Toward Tomorrow

2014 Annual Report + Newsletters

Annual Report

12/18/2014 – December Newsletter – A Time for Reflection and Celebration


11/19/2014 – November Newsletter – What a Difference a Year Makes

10/14/2014 – October Newsletter – All Systems Go

09/10/2014 – September Newsletter – Insight Report

08/12/2014 – August Newsletter – Insight Report

07/02/2014 – June/July Newsletter – Insight Report

05/28/2014 – May Newsletter – Insight Report

04/15/2014 – April Newsletter – Insight Report

03/07/2014 – February/March 2014 Insight News

01/24/2014 – January 2014 Insight News