On this week’s episode of Money Talks, Reckon discusses the racial wealth gap in America.
The racial wealth distribution does not correlate with the racial demographics of America. White Americans have a disproportionately large percentage of the wealth in America compared to people of color.
Data from the Federal Reserve Bank and the U.S. Census Bureau show white Americans make up about three-quarters of the population, but hold around 84 percent of the wealth in the country.
Black Americans, who make up about 13 percent population-wise, hold less than 5 percent of all wealth.
Hispanic Americans hold even less wealth. Hispanic Americans make up 18 percent of our national population. They own about 3 percent of the nation’s wealth.
The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to widen this gap. The pandemic already disproportionally affects Black and Latinx Americans in terms of health, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Black Americans are more than 2.5 times more likely to contract the virus. If they get the virus, they’re nearly 5 times more likely to be hospitalized and twice as likely to die from the virus compared to White Americans, according to the CDC. Hispanic Americans are nearly three times more likely to contract the virus and 5 times more likely to be hospitalized, according to the CDC.
The pandemic is expected to widen the wealth gap, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Historically, pandemics have worsened existing inequality. A study of income after recent health epidemics including H1N1, Ebola and SARS show an increase in inequality among those already disadvantaged, IMF said in a report.
“Without strenuous and targeted attempts, we are again likely to see an increase in inequality, which was already “one of the most complex and vexing challenges in the global economy,” IMF officials said in the report.