- Centuries of discrimination have created a cavernous wealth gap between Black and white Americans.
- Today, Black Americans own an estimated one-tenth the wealth of white Americans — $17,150 for Black families compared to $171,000 for white families.
- This gap is not only bad for Black people, it’s bad for the US economy, too.
- Researchers estimate that the racial wealth gap has cost the US economy $16 trillion since 2000. If the gap closed today, the GDP would see a $5 trillion boost in the next five years.
- Read more stories from Business Insider’s “Inside the racial wealth gap” series »
Since the start of slavery, racism has cost Black Americans an estimated $70 trillion. Today, thanks to centuries of discrimination, the racial wealth gap between Black and white Americans is cavernous.
In 2016, the Brookings Institution estimated that Black Americans own about one-tenth the wealth of white Americans — $17,150 for Black families compared to $171,000 for white families. The gap persists at every income level: Among the top 10% of earners, the median net worth of white families is $1,789,300, whereas a Black family earning the same income has a median net worth of $343,160.
It goes without saying that this is bad for Black families and individuals. But this type of racial inequality is bad for the broader US economy, too.
What the racial wealth gap costs the US economy
In a Zoom panel discussion hosted by Business Insider last month, experts from a variety of fields — higher education, business, and financial planning — discussed the costs of the racial wealth gap and how to close it.
Dania Francis, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Boston and co-author of “The Economics of Reparations,” illuminated the cost of racial inequality to the US economy.