The wealth gap between Black and White Americans in the state of New York is considerably wider than previously suspected.
According to the Scoping the Racial Wealth Gap in New York State and City report by the state’s comptroller, White households have a median net worth of $276,900, which is almost 15x higher than Black households that have a net household worth of $18,870.
“The data in our report show – in Black and white – the persistence of a stark racial wealth gap in New York,” said Comptroller Brad Lander. “The median household net worth of white New Yorkers is nearly 15 times that of Black New Yorkers – 15 times. The average white New York high school graduate has a net worth three times greater than the average Black college graduate. These numbers add up to opportunities denied to millions of Black New Yorkers, wealth disparities perpetuated across generations, and a poorer city and state for all of us since inequality holds back economic growth for all.”
Additionally, the report reveals that New York State has a wider racial wealth gap than any other state in the county with the median white household touting a net worth of $291,250 and the median Black household net worth is $31,370.
The disparity of wealth can also be traced to education, according to the figures. The report says White New Yorkers who only have a high school degree still have a net worth that’s three times greater than their Black counterparts who are college graduates. Among those with bachelor’s degrees in the state, Also, 54 percent of Black New Yorkers have student debt compared to their white counterparts at 28 percent.
Study: Black Homeownership Trends Higher But Still Below 1980 Level
Homeownership, which is one of the primary building blocks to accumulating wealth, is another contributing factor to the widening wealth gap. 63 percent of White New Yorkers are homeowners versus 24 percent of Black New Yorkers. As the inequities persist, the average home owned by a Black New Yorker is valued” significantly lower than the median White New York City homeowner.”
In response to the increasing wealth gap, New York lawmakers passed legislation to create a commission to examine reparations for the descendants of slaves.
“We want to make sure we are looking at slavery and its legacies,” Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages said on the legislative floor at the time of the passage of the bill.“This is about beginning the process of healing our communities. There still is generational trauma that people are experiencing. This is just one step forward.”
Senator James Sanders Jr., expressed his approval of Lander’s report and views it as the tipping point for the state of New York to address the stark realities of wealth inequality.
“On this day dedicated to justice, I applaud New York City Comptroller, Brad Lander for issuing this historic report. On this day 158 years ago, the US Congress ratified the 13th Amendment. By doing so, they declared that the enslaved black population to be free,” Sanders said. “On this day, Comptroller Brad Lander issued a report on the freedom of the New York Black population. As disturbing as this data is, it is better that we deal with a bitter truth than a sweet lie.”
“The truth is that there appears to be a structural impediment preventing the African American population from achieving the American dream. This worthy population will not struggle with this condition alone,” Sanders continued. “The legislators in Albany have seen the burdens of their fellow citizens and are rushing to their aid. This report will serve as a fountain of knowledge as legislators seek to ensure equality of opportunity in New York State. I applaud Brad Lander for this thoughtful, insightful, horrific yet hopeful report."
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