US racial wealth gap to last decades, study finds

NEW YORK (AA) – It will take decades for black and Latino families to accumulate the same amount of wealth white families currently have, a new study revealed.

On average, a black family needs 228 years and a Latino family needs 84 years to reach the same wealth as a white family, according to a joint report by the Corporation for Enterprise Development and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS).

“By the time people of color become the majority, the racial wealth divide will not just be a racial and social justice issue impacting a particular group of people — it will be the single greatest economic issue facing our country,” the report said, adding that current tax policies have helped increased the wealth gap in the U.S. by helping the rich get wealthier while providing the poor with not much.

Minority families are expected to make up more than half of the U.S. population by 2043.

The federal government’s spending to build wealth tripled in the last two decades, from $200 billion in 1994 to $660 billion in 2015, totaling more than $8 trillion, according to the report that cited gross inequalities in that spending.

Among the disparities noted was that millionaires receive around $145,000 in public tax benefits, while working families get $174 on average, resulting in uneven wealth accumulation between the rich and the poor.

“Over the past 30 years, the wealth of the Forbes 400 richest Americans has grown 736 percent –10 times the rate of growth for the Latino population and 27 times the rate of growth for the black population. If average African-American households had been able to enjoy the same growth rate as the Forbes 400 during that same period, they would have an extra $475,000 in wealth today. Latino households would have an extra $386,000,” the report said.

It also warned that if current trends continue, by 2043, the average wealth for white families would increase 84 percent to $1.2 million. Latino families would see a 69 percent increase to $165,000, while the wealth of black families would increase by just 27 percent to $108,000.

Chuck Collins, Director of IPS’s Program on Inequality and the Common Good, urged policymakers to take immediate action. “They can stop facilitating the wealth divide and start expanding opportunities to boost wealth for all families, especially households of color,” he said in a statement.