Study Analyzes Racial Financial Inequality In America By State

A new study from WalletHub has analyzed the racial financial inequality in each of the 50 states and District of Columbia, and has determined what states have the largest and smallest wealth gaps among racial groups in the United States. The researchers combined data such as median household income, homeownership rate, poverty rate, and education attainment, to measure and compare this inequality.

According to the study results, the top three states with the largest combined racial gaps in wealth were the District of Columbia, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. In the District of Columbia, the income of White people is 66 percent higher than Black people. Compared to White residents, Black people who live in the District of Columbia are 488 percent more likely to be unemployed, in addition to having a 359 percent higher rate of poverty. White residents in North Dakota are 86 percent more likely than Black residents to own a home; the largest homeownership gap among the states. In Wisconsin, racial inequality in median household income and poverty rate were high, with Black residents making 50 percent less in income, along with a 244 percent higher poverty rate compared to White residents.

Upon analyzing the study’s findings, WalletHub consulted experts in this field for insight on their results. Irving L. Joyner, professor of law at North Carolina Central University, stated, “Statistics show that the racial income gap grows larger and larger each year. The growth of the gap has grown because those with more wealth have benefited more abundantly from their investments and ability to survive the economic downturns within the economy while poor individuals, mainly racial minorities, were forced to consume their meager resources to survive day-to-day and did not have resources which they could invest.”

To close the gap of racial financial inequality in America, Lori Latrice Martin, associate dean and professor at Louisiana State University, believes “programs and initiatives aimed at building individual, household, and community wealth for historically disadvantaged groups such as Black people in America would go a long way towards addressing the ongoing racial inequities in America.”

WalletHub’s study used data collected in December 2023 from the United States Census Bureau and the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics when measuring the country’s racial wealth gap by state.

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