Report: Recession Caused Black Wealth to Virtually Disappear

| by AFL-CIO

The failing economy has caused wealth for black households to all but disappear, according to a shocking new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). Since 1983, median wealth for black households fell by nearly two-thirds from $6,300 to $2,200 in 2009—a decrease of more than 65 percent.

This means half of black households have less than $2,200 in wealth. Among white households, median wealth fell substantially since 2007, but at $97,900, remains higher than the 1983 level of $94,100. White median wealth is now 44.5 times higher than black median wealth. Read the report here.

The recession has made the situation even worse. The unemployment rate for blacks is 16.7 percent, a whopping 83 percent higher than the national rate of 9.1 percent.

Says EPI President Lawrence Mishel, author of the report:

…the persistent high unemployment ahead of us will do more damage unless we create more jobs now.

EPI reported last week that since 1983, most gains in wealth accrued to the top 5 percent of households and actually declined for the bottom 60 percent. In fact, if gains  had been equal from 1983-2009, the typical household’s median wealth would have risen to $100,900, up $29,000 from $71,900 in 1983. Instead, overall median wealth declined 13.5 percent to $62,200.