By Tami Luhby and Christopher Hickey, CNN
The financial situation of black and white Americans is anything but equal.
In terms of wealth and income, significant disparities persist despite the years of economic prosperity that preceded the coronavirus pandemic.
This long-standing racial divide has attracted renewed attention from the Biden administration, which has pledged to improve equity as it guides the nation toward the virus-fueled economic recession.
He also highlighted the unequal fortunes of blacks and whites: the centenary of the racial massacre that destroyed the Greenwood section of Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as Black Wall Street.
The numbers are staggering.
According to the latest data from the Federal Reserve Bank, the typical non-Hispanic white family had almost eight times the net worth of the non-Hispanic black family in 2019. This gap stems in part from lower property and inheritance rates minors among blacks.
Wealth is even more important these days as it serves as a safety net during economic recessions. And black Americans do not benefit from the accumulation of stock prices and house values as much as white Americans do, as they are less likely to own those assets.
The average income of black Americans in 2019 tied previous highs, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau. But non-Hispanic white Americans saw their average incomes break a record, thanks to the booming economy.
Therefore, racial division was maintained.
Black workers face significant wage differences in the labor market, and these differences have grown since 2000, according to the Institute for Economic Policy.
Disparity is another reason why it is more difficult for black families to save and build wealth than for white households.
One area that has improved over time is the gap in unemployment rates.
For decades, the unemployment rate for black Americans was typically more than double that of white Americans. But it had been reduced to the smallest pre-pandemic differential recorded in 2019, amid economic prosperity.
However, black Americans were hard hit by the recession caused by the coronavirus, which suffered a record number of job losses during the first months of last year’s outbreak, according to the Policy Institute. Economic.
They also see a slower recovery as the economy improves. The unemployment rate for black Americans was 9.7% in April, compared to 6% in February 2020, before the pandemic began, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
But for white Americans, the rate is 5.3%, compared to 3% in February 2020.
The poverty rate for black Americans in 2019 was the lowest recorded, according to the Census Bureau.
But at 18.8%, it is still much more than double that of non-Hispanic white Americans, who had a poverty rate of 7.3%.
The gap is even more amazing among children.
More than a quarter of black children fell below the poverty line in 2019, compared to 8.3% of white children.