Chart of the Day: 2016 US Median Net Worth by Race

Here’s a sobering chart that shows the true depth of inequality in this country. Often you see inequality measured by income, and by that accounting, our racial gaps are very large.

But these gaps grow even larger when you factor in overall wealth, which reflects how income is accumulated over time. There the gap reaches epic proportion:

This chart is from a recent Washington Post article on the wealth gap and racial inequality. The authors point out that the problem is remains dire:

Black and Hispanic families have far less money than whites to begin with, so any bump as a result of the nation’s economic recovery would appear to be disproportionately large.

“White households had a head start in rebuilding wealth relative to black and Hispanic households,” said Valerie Wilson, director of the Economic Policy Institute’s program on race, ethnicity, and the economy. “Black and Hispanic households see larger percentage gains simply because they were starting from a lower level.

Between 2013 and 2016, net worth increased 46 percent for Hispanic families, 29 percent for black families, and 17 percent for white families, according to Wednesday’s Fed report.

The housing market has long been the #1 way that average Americans accumulate wealth, so this gap has a lot to say about the origins and persistence of racial inequality in a city like Minneapolis.

(See also this chart on the trends here.)

Bill Lindeke

About Bill Lindeke

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Lindeke has writing blogging about sidewalks and cities since 2005, ever since he read Jane Jacobs. He is a lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota Geography Department, the Cityscape columnist at Minnpost, and has written multiple books on local urban history. He was born in Minneapolis, but has spent most of his time in St Paul. Check out Twitter @BillLindeke or on Facebook.