America Ranked Near the Bottom — Again — In Wealth Inequality

The stark earnings gap between Black and white Americans also is a growing problem in the US, with the disparities widening year by year. A study from theInstitute of Women’s Policy Research in 2016 showed that Black Americans and Latinos (both male and female) lagged behind in weekly wage earnings compared to their counterparts. For instance, Black and Hispanic workers had their weekly wages decrease in 2015, while workers of other races saw their weekly earnings nearly double.

When comparing Black and white economic wealth, study after study has shown that Black Americans fall behind in this area as well because they simply don’t earn as much. In 2016, researchersfrom the Corporation for Enterprise Development and the Institute for Policy Studies examined the growing racial wealth gap and found that it would take the average Black family a lengthy 228 years just to accrue the wealth of today’s average white family. That’s because, over the past 30 years, the wealth of white families ballooned 84 percent — three times the rate of economic growth for Black households.

Institutional racism has played a role in the widening disparity, as researchers highlighted the wealth-building policies that have consistently given white families financial advantages over Black ones. Such policies have exacerbated America’s poor distribution of wealth and have further slowed the upward mobility of African-Americans on the economic ladder.

“If the past 30 years were to repeat, the next three decades would see the average wealth of White households increase by over $18,000 per year, while Latino and Black households would see their respective wealth increase by about $2,250 and $750 per year,” the study read.