'Tis the Season for Escalating Credit Card Debt

December 23, 2013 | | Trice Edney Wire |

African Americans have been pummeled by the recent financial crisis, including facing the most adverse consequences of credit card debt and higher interest rates, according to a recently released study by the NAACP and Demos, a U.S.-based research and policy center.

Findings from “The Challenge of Credit Card Debt for the African-American Middle Class,” indicate that Black Americans suffered disproportionate economic losses since the Great Recession, weathering the highest jobless rates, steepest declines in income and deepest cuts into their assets and investments.

Additionally burdened by systemic discriminatory policies that left blacks with fewer assets and lower rates of homeownership than whites, many African Americans turned to credit cards as a “plastic security net” to help make ends meet, according to the report which is dated December 2013.

“Much of the disproportionate impact of credit card debt can be attributed to the fact that African Americans have fewer assets than other households to fall back on in emergencies,” explained Catherine Ruetschlin, report co-author and Demos policy analyst, in a statement. “Unlike white households, more than half of African-American wealth is held in housing, which was devastated in the financial crisis. We’re also seeing African Americans turning to credit cards to cover their household finances as incomes continue to stagnate and unemployment rates hover around twice that of white workers.”

Read the full report: The Challenge of Credit Card Debt for the African American Middle Class