Some Wealth Gap Improvements Were Happening, Then the Recession Hit

It is no secret that there is a wealth gap in America. Many nations have these wealth gaps among different races and ethnicities, but they are more easily tracked in the most developed economy in the world. Before considering the impact of the 2020 recession, there was some good news and some bad news in the wealth gap and disparities among different races in America.

The Federal Reserve has released its 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances. While the broad report is vast and covers many topics, the Fed also broke down how those wealth disparities look by race and ethnicity. Since the most recent similar report in 2016, the Fed indicated that the typical white family has about eight times the wealth of the typical Black family and about five times the wealth of the typical Hispanic family.

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The Fed indicated that median wealth rose for all race and ethnicity groups between 2016 and 2019. During that time, the growth rates of median wealth rose by significantly higher rates for Black and Hispanic families. The media growth in wealth was 33% for Black families and 65% for Hispanic families. The median growth in wealth of white families rose by 3% in that time. The broad “other” category for families saw their median wealth wise by 8%.


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While this much faster growth in median wealth for black and Hispanic families was seen, the Fed also pointed out that this resulted in only modest wealth gap changes between white families and that of Black and Hispanic families. The white-Black gap in median wealth was $163,700 in 2016, and it was $164,100 in 2019. The white-Hispanic gap fell from $160,000 in 2016 to $152,100 in 2019.

In the 2019 Federal Reserve survey, white families had

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