White Wealth and Black Debt Shot Up in ‘Growth’ Years

By Kai Wright May 17, 2010

The wealth gap between Blacks and Whites has grown by fourfold over the course of Generation X’s lifetime, exploding to $95,000, a study released today found. And the debt burden among African American families has nearly doubled. The study comes from Brandeis University’s Tom Shapiro, who’s among the pioneers in measuring economic equality by considering overall household wealth–your assets minus your debts–rather than just income. Shapiro’s research team looked at data from a decades-long, national survey of family economics and discovered that, between 1984 and 2007, the wealth gap saw unprecedented growth, as assets among high-income White households shot up while debt among all Black households did the same. The visuals show it best. This first chart shows median assets by race (charts are from the report): But a second chart (after the jump) breaks it down by income levels: