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.
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.
Wealth inequality in the U.S. has been steadily increasing along racial and ethnic lines since the Great Recession, according to a Pew study. White Americans disproportionately enjoy the economic security that wealth affords to people in this country, and right-wing media figures often blame Black people for their lack of financial means. Media Matters spoke with Anne Price, president of the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, where she leads the Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative that elevates the voices of experts of color in national economic debates and policymaking. She dispelled the racist right-wing media myths that link the wealth gap to behavioral pathology and deservedness. Click here to watch the full video.
Today, there are about 40 million millennial women, representing 31.5% of the female population in the U.S. Millennial women do not benefit from many economic policies and systems designed by, and built to meet the needs of, men as primary breadwinners. Millennial women came of age during the Great Recession, the rise of mass incarceration, unprecedented student debt levels, and changing workforce dynamics. All of these factors contribute to the fact that millennial women are 37% more likely than Generation Xers (those born between 1965 and 1984) to be living below the federal poverty line and are more likely to be underemployed or unemployed than previous generations. Click here to read the full report.
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, houses and vehicles. Debts included credit card debt, student loans, medical debt, mortgages and vehicle debt. To read the full research brief, click here.
Bootstraps are for Black Kids | September 2015
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. 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.