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The Racial Wealth Gap: An Old and Enduring Legacy

Author Rejane Frederick examines the structural roots of the racial wealth and achievement gap and urges legislators to prioritize a racial equity-based policy agenda.

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released its annual report on the state of poverty and income in the United States. The data are encouraging: Americans of nearly all races saw increases in household earnings, continued improvements in economic security, and decreases in poverty in 2016. And yet, despite these modest gains, African Americans and their families continue to face the highest poverty rates in the country.

At 22 percent, the poverty rate of African Americans more than doubles that of non-Hispanic whites (8.8 percent) with black children being three times as likely to be poor than white children. African Americans today remain chronically under-paid and face a significantly higher risk of unemployment than whites at every educational level — despite comparable years of experience and qualifications. And the longer-term trends look even worse. A new report by the Institute for Policy Studies and Prosperity NOW finds that if America’s racial wealth and earning divide continues unabated, the average African American household’s wealth will erode to zero within a generation.

The above excerpt was originally published in RealClearPolicy. Click here to view the full article.

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Rejane Frederick

Associate Director, Poverty to Prosperity Program