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Which Policies Will Cut the Racial Wealth Gap?

Amy Traub
Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

America’s growing inequality is well-documented. Less discussed is its intersection with another of the country’s defining trends, growing diversity.

Racial disparities in wealth are vast. And addressing inequality now and in the years ahead, means thinking seriously about the racial wealth gap and the steps we can take to ameliorate it.

The statistics are stark. The typical black household now possesses just 6 percent of the wealth owned by the typical white household, and the typical Latino household owns only 8 percent of the wealth of the typical white household. There was not sufficient data on Asian or Native American households to include in the analysis.

These wealth disparities are rooted in historic injustices, but they are maintained and extended by policies that continue today. Colorblind policymaking has not been sufficient to address the wealth gap: to build a more equitable and secure future, policymakers must actively work to reverse public policies that fuel racial disparities in wealth. But which policies could make the greatest difference?