Center for American Progress

We Need to Expand Financial Opportunities in Low-Income Communities of Color
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We Need to Expand Financial Opportunities in Low-Income Communities of Color

Wealth deterioration is now an American problem and that means it requires a comprehensive approach that provides equal opportunities to build wealth for all low-income American families.

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On Tuesday, the Pew Charitable Trust released a new report confirming that blacks and Latinos fared worse in the Great Recession than whites from the perspective of median wealth, or household net worth at the median. Few who have been following shifts in wealth in the United States over the last 20 years will be surprised with these findings. The report is important, however, not because it confirms what has been a fairly consistent trend but because it raises the question of how we can slow the erosion of wealth and reestablish financial opportunities in low-income communities of all hues.

Many American families have experienced a significant and palpable deterioration of wealth since the Great Recession began in 2007. It is important to point out that this trend has occurred in all low-income communities, but for communities of color the trend on aggregate is more profound because of particular financial and economic profiles of these communities. Historically, these communities have been characterized by low savings, little inherited wealth, and shallow asset pools. Nevertheless, wealth deterioration is now an American problem and that means it requires a comprehensive approach that provides equal opportunities to build wealth for all low-income American families.

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