Despite the repetitive displays of black wealth opulence by media through everyone from Jay-Z to Lebron James, by the data, hardly any black families in America are worth above even a single million dollars. Matt Bruenig and I used the 2016 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer finances to show that nationwide out of 20 million black families, a mere 380,000 break the single million dollar threshold. That is only 1.9 percent of the racial group. While The Washington Post is following behind our article by reporting an obscure variation of the data that 1 in 50 black families are millionaires, they are failing to explain how truly complete white control of wealth is in the United States.
15 percent of white American families have a wealth level above a million dollars. Meaning 13 million white families are millionaires, and over 870,000 families are above 12 million dollars. This group of whites above $12 million also constitutes the bulk of the top 1 percent we so often speak of in the media.
Our other major finding is that three-fourths of the reported $16,600 in worth reported for the middle black family is the held in the family car. Meaning the median black family is worth just over $4,000 without the family car. According to Professor Edward Wolff durables such as the family car, couch, television, and clothes should not be included as assets in valuing a household. That leaves us to only wonder what the middle black family is worth if we deduct the remaining durables?
This all comes in context of a report that came out earlier this month that stated:
A new report calculates that median wealth for black Americans will fall to $0 by 2053, if current trends continue. Latino-Americans, who are also experiencing a sustained downward wealth slide, will hit $0 about two decades later, according to the study by Prosperity Now and the Institute for Policy Studies.
The racial wealth gap is an American problem that is growing, and needs to be addressed with transformative solutions immediately.
Antonio Moore, an attorney based in Los Angeles, is one of the producers of the Emmy-nominated documentary "Freeway: Crack in the System." He has contributed pieces to the Grio, The Huffington Post, and Inequality.org on the topics of race, mass incarceration, and economics. Follow him on YouTube Channel Tonetalks. For more of his reports, Click Here Now.
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