Federal Survey Shows Spike In Black Household Wealth During Pandemic

Despite the increase, the racial wealth gap remains vast.

Household wealth in the United States rose significantly during the coronavirus pandemic, with Black families doing remarkably well financially, though still far below White household wealth.

The Federal Reserve's survey of consumer finances found that U.S. families’ median net worth rose 37 percent to $192,900 from 2019 to 2022, USA Today reports. When adjusted for inflation, it marks the most significant rise the agency has ever recorded.

In response to the pandemic, the federal government spent about $4.6 trillion for recovery. Those efforts included economic relief payments of up to $1,200 directly to eligible adults and $500 per child, as those able to work remotely saved on work-related expenses, such as transportation.

The recorded financial gains benefited households across the board.

At 60 percent, Black families had the largest net worth increase among racial groups. But their median wealth in 2022 was still far below the median wealth of White people: $44,900 compared to $285,000.

Study: Black-Owned Homes Appreciated Faster Than Other Races During Pandemic

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson has said, “The racial wealth gap in America continues to be the single greatest barrier to realizing Dr. King’s dream.”

When the civil rights leader was assassinated in 1968, middle-class Black families had an average household wealth of about $6,600 compared to about $71,000 for White middle-class households, adjusted for inflation, according to Forbes.

By 2016, the Brookings Institution pegged Black families’ net worth at $17,150 compared to $171,000 for Whites. Income disparity isn’t the only issue. White families also have far more wealth than Black families with similar income levels.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has highlighted the systemic racial inequalities that keep Black Americans at the economic periphery. Speaking at an event honoring Dr. Martin Luther King in 2022, Yellen said, “From Reconstruction, to Jim Crow, to the present day, our economy has never worked fairly for Black Americans -- or, really, for any American of color.”

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, you confirm that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. You also agree to receive marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers) and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. You understand that you can unsubscribe at any time.