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In the Headlines

22 September 2011

Confronting a Self-Perpetuating U.S. Wealth Gap

The wealth gap between white families and black and Hispanic families has widened in recent years, and researchers expect it to continue to increase unless steps are taken to break a cycle that sees the rich getting richer while the poor continue to struggle. Efforts underway by Brandeis University and EARN—both grantees of our Building Economic Security Over a Lifetime initiative—to tackle the “firmly entrenched” gap are highlighted in this two-part, in-depth report from National Public Radio.

Part One published on NPR

Making It In The U.S.: More Than Just Hard Work

September 5, 2011 By Paul Osterman

Here’s a startling figure: The typical white family has 20 times the wealth of the median black family. That’s the largest gap in 25 years. The recession widened the racial wealth gap, but experts say it's also due to deeply ingrained differences in things such as inheritance, home ownership, taxes and even expectations.

Take the example of two California women, Dametra Williams and Stephanie Upp, who aren’t that different in many ways. Both were raised by single mothers who struggled financially. Both worked hard to get where they are today.

But how they describe basically the same thing about how they got to where they are today differs.

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