Racial and gender wealth differences are widening and show no signs of reversing. Many efforts to close a racial wealth gap fall short of understanding the systematic, historical advantage white Americans received from economic policies over time. In some cases, these efforts give us a false notion that if people just make better financial decisions they will become prosperous. Insight believes that we need to direct solutions at the root causes of both racial and gender wealth inequities in order to shift power back to everyday Americans, not just the rich.

  • Advance wealth as the “North Star” of economic security connecting income, work, housing, mass incarceration and other economic issues.
  • Leverage groundbreaking research to support organizing campaigns and advocacy for bold solutions.
  • Provide strategic, thought leadership to nonprofits and philanthropists to address root causes of racial and gender wealth inequities.
  • Broaden reach and support for policies and practices that eliminate wealth inequalities including addressing crippling debt.

Building Equity by Supporting the Whole Student: Findings from Case Studies of Two Colleges in the Working Students Success Network | November 2020

The philanthropic community recognizes that postsecondary education is a critical pathway to economic mobility and stability. In this education brief, researchers from Mathematica and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development provide key ways colleges, funders, and other stakeholders can build and apply an equity framework to ensure all students are successful in college.

Click here to read the full report.

Don’t Fixate on the Racial Wealth Gap: Focus on Undoing Its Root Causes | February 2020

Inequality is a defining American issue, and perhaps no measure more accurately exemplifies the failures and injustices of historic and current-day economic decisions than the “racial wealth gap.” In the current political moment—when bold ideas to rebalance economic and political power, especially by race, are central to public debate—we have the opportunity to reevaluate how we think about racial inequality and how our current economic system has exacerbated it.

Click here to download and share the report.

Baby Bonds: A Universal Path to Ensure the Next Generation Has the Capital to Thrive | January 2020

Our current racial wealth inequities are the result of past and present government actions and policies. Therefore, solutions to address racial wealth inequities must involve government action, with Baby Bonds being a promising policy to begin to alleviate such massive racial injustice. The report amplifies the urgency of the intergenerational wealth gap while distinguishing and acknowledging the racial wealth gap, with a grave imperative to address both through a race-conscious, universal policy like Baby Bonds.

Click here to read the full report.

What the Moms 4 Housing Movement Reveals About the Homelessness Crisis | December 2019

In an act of civil disobedience—and out of the need to secure a safe space to live—members of Moms 4 Housing, a collective of unhoused mothers in Oakland, settled into a vacant home in West Oakland with the goal of raising awareness of the housing and homeless epidemic in California. Armed police from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office came before dawn to evict and consequently arrest the single Black mothers. The images from the scene challenge us to examine how race and gender inequality are embedded in the DNA of our homelessness epidemic.

Click here to read the full piece.

Video: Racist right-wing media myths allow the racial wealth gap to persist | May 2019

Racial wealth inequality in the U.S. has been steadily increasing since the Great Recession. White Americans disproportionately enjoy economic security from wealth, and right-wing media often blame Black people for their lack of financial means. Media Matters spoke with Insight President Anne Price, who leads the Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative, which elevates the voices of experts of color. She dispels racist right-wing media myths linking the wealth gap to behavioral pathology and deservedness.

Click here to watch the full video.

Clipped Wings: Closing the Wealth Gap for Millennial Women | March 2019

Millennial women represent 31.5% of the female population in the U.S. but do not benefit from many economic policies and systems designed by, and built to meet the needs of, men. They came of age during the Great Recession, a rise in mass incarceration, unprecedented student debt levels, and changing workforce dynamics. These factors contribute to the fact that they are 37% more likely than Generation Xers (those born from 1965-1984) to be living below the federal poverty line and more likely to be underemployed.

Click here to read the full report.

The Color of Wealth in Miami | February 2019

The Color of Wealth in Miami is a joint publication of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University, the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University, and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. The findings in this report from the National Asset Scorecard for Communities of Color (NASCC) survey reveal major disparities in wealth accumulation and income across various racial and ethnic groups in metropolitan Miami.

Click here to view and download the full report as a PDF.

Clipped Wings Webinar | November 2018

Too many Millennial women are operating under clipped wings that prevent them from achieving economic security and soaring to their full potential. Existing policies affecting family economic security do not support Millennial women’s rise in educational attainment and resulting student debt burden, nor do they acknowledge the ongoing roles Millennial women play as the primary caregivers for children and other family members.

Click here to access the recorded webinar and slide deck.

What we Got Wrong about the Wealth Gap | July 2018

The racial wealth gap is large and shows no signs of closing. Recent data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (2014) shows that black households hold less than seven cents on the dollar compared to white households.1 The white household living near the poverty line typically has about $18,000 in wealth, while black households in similar economic straits typically have a median wealth near zero. This means, in turn, that many black families have a negative net worth. (Hamilton et al. 2015).

Click here to read the full report.

Women Race and Wealth | January 2017

Women, Race and Wealth is the first in a series of briefs that summarize patterns of household wealth among Black and white women by college education, family structure and age using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). Researchers from Duke University and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development analyzed data on assets such as savings and checking accounts, stocks, retirement accounts, and vehicles. Debts included credit card debt, student loans, medical debt, mortgages and vehicle debt.

To read the full research brief, click here.

The Color of Wealth in the Nation’s Capital | November 2016

The Color of Wealth in the Nation’s Capital is a joint publication of the Urban Institute, Duke University, The New School, and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. This report explores racial and ethnic differences in net worth, focusing on Black families in Washington, DC, and shows, through a chronicle of their history in the city, how discrimination and systemic racism have contributed to today’s wealth gap in the nation’s capital.

Click here to view and download the full report as a PDF.

The Color of Wealth in Los Angeles | March 2016

The new report examines wealth inequality across racial and ethnic groups in Los Angeles, shows substantial disparity with Japanese, Asian Indians, Chinese and whites ranking among the top, while blacks, Mexicans, other Latinos, Koreans and Vietnamese rank far behind. “The Color of Wealth in Los Angeles” is the first report to compile detailed data on assets and debts among people of different races, ethnicities and countries of origin residing in the Los Angeles area.

To download the full report click here.

Bootstraps are for Black Kids | September 2015

A study 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 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.

Click here to learn more.

Umbrellas Don’t Make it Rain | April 2015

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 read the full report.