WASHINGTON, February 27 (RIA Novosti) - A growing US wealth gap between blacks and whites is rooted in government policies and institutional practices that create fundamental economic disparities in home ownership, employment, income and education, according to a report released Wednesday.
“All families need a financial cushion to be economically secure and create opportunities for the next generation,” said Dr. Thomas Shapiro, director of the Institute on Assets and Social Policy (IASP) at Brandeis University and a principal author of the 25-year-study of hundreds of American families.
“Our economy cannot sustain its growth in the face of this type of extreme wealth inequality,” Shapiro added in a statement.
There were 1,700 working-age households that took part in the research from 1984 to 2009. During that time, the gap in wealth between black and white families in the study grew from $85,000 in 1984 to $236,500 in 2009.
The 2009 median net worth of households in the study was $265,000 for whites and just $28,500 for blacks.
The study found white families were able to buy homes on average eight years earlier than black families, in part because of inheritance money and family assistance. They were also able to offer larger down payments and got better interest rates and lower lending costs.
Researchers also found black workers were more likely to have jobs that didn’t offer retirement plans or other benefits, were less likely to graduate from college and were likely to have higher student debt when they did.