The Median Wealth of African Americans Will Reportedly Fall to Zero by 2053

Wealth has historically felt as though it evades the black community. Years of racial inequality through slavery, Jim Crow laws, segregation, and even inequality that still poses an imposition on black people’s ability to obtain wealth as easily as their white counterparts. Financial freedom is not equal, so even if wealth is achieved by one generation, it is difficult to sustain and pass down to the next.

Nowadays, acquiring black wealth and accumulating generational wealth has been heavily emphasized in conversations about finances in the black community. As The Guardian reports, that if trends continue, the median wealth for black people in America will drop to $0 by 2053.

In their article, the site makes mention of a study conducted by Prosperity Now also states that the affairs of the Hispanic community will face a similar fate, with their median wealth believed to fall to $0 two decades later.

According to the report, “By 2020, median black and Latino households stand to lose nearly 18% and 12% of the wealth they held in 2013 respectively, while median white household wealth increases by 3%. At that point – just three years from now – white households are projected to own 86 times more wealth than black households, and 68 times more wealth than Latino households.”

When it comes to wealth, black people are not only behind in obtaining it, they are also victims of the fact that wealth was never “for” them anyway. Attributing to the wealth gap includes the recent economic crisis of the 2001 recession. In terms of the Latino median wealth, the ethnic group has never recovered from the economic crisis of the 2008 financial collapse. This differs in contrast from white median wealth, which was seemingly unharmed by the economic crises.

“You find first-generation, even second-generation African-American and Latino households that have professional jobs and are making ‘middle-income money’ – but they have the wealth of a white high-school dropout,” Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, senior fellow at Prosperity Now said in regards to the study. “They’re not truly part of a middle class – which would mean financial stability, money to weather challenging economic situations, or money to invest in the economic opportunities of their children.”

It is projected that by 2044 the United States will be majority non-white. Interestingly enough, it is hypothesized that that could lead to major economic setbacks for the country. “If the racial wealth divide continues to accelerate, the economic conditions of black and Latino households will have an increasingly adverse impact on the economy writ large, because the majority of US households will no longer have enough wealth to stake their claim in the middle class.”

To combat what the current trends propose will be the future of black and Latino communities in 2053, Asante-Muhammad suggests that minority communities look toward investing. “Invest in a 21st-century American middle class. We need to make sure, for the first time, that we are investing in a middle class that includes communities of color.”

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Sheriden Chanel is a twenty-something writer, Beyoncé enthusiast, and lover of all things visual art. Keep up with her and her musings on social via @indiebyline.