This report presents a stylized model of wealth accumulation that accounts for patterns in income and wealth shown in prior research to illustrate how various factors contribute to Black-white wealth differences.
Investigating the U.S. Racial Wealth Gap
Illustration by Kekeli Sumah/RAND Corporation, from Andre Hunter/Unsplash and Pete Soriano/RAND Corporation, from Atlas Illustrations/Adobe Stock and dar/Adobe Stock
The gap in wealth between Black and white Americans is a product of historical realities that continue to shape economic outcomes. Policy interventions to address current wealth disparities must understand the long-standing inequities that contributed to them.
To help inform those policy discussions, RAND researchers have investigated how wealth is accumulated, the potential effects of particular policy responses, and the social mobility prospects of African Americans. The discussion papers in this series will be followed by future research efforts.
Examining the Loss of Wealth and Downward Mobility of African Americans: A Review of Challenges for the Black Middle Class
The position of middle-class African Americans remains precarious despite post-Civil Rights era gains. In this report, the author reviews research on the factors that may contribute to the downward mobility rates of middle-class African Americans.
The wealth gap between Black and white Americans is the result of inequities compounded over time. Using Survey of Consumer Finances data, the authors analyze the wealth gap and the potential impacts of disparity-reducing wealth-allocation policies.
Funding for this research was provided by gifts from RAND supporters and income from operations. Questions should be directed to Jonathan_Welburn@rand.org.