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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Median wealth for single black women: $5
    Posted: Mar 13 2010 at 12:28pm

Women of all races bring home less income and own fewer assets, on average, than men of the same race, but for single black women the disparities are so overwhelmingly great that even in their prime working years their median wealth amounts to only $5.

In a groundbreaking report released Monday by a leading economic research group, social scientists turned a spotlight on the grave financial challenges facing an often overlooked group of women, many of whom could not take an unpaid sick day or repair a major appliance without going into debt.

"It's rather shocking," said Meizhu Lui, director of the Closing the Gap Initiative based in Oakland, Calif., who contributed to the report "Lifting as We Climb: Women of Color, Wealth and America's Future."

Among the most startling revelations in the wealth data is that while single white women in the prime of their working years (ages 36 to 49) have a median wealth of $42,600 (still only 61 percent of their single white male counterparts), the median wealth for single black women is only $5.

"Even for those of us who have been looking at the wealth gap for a while, we were shocked and amazed at how little women of color have," Ms. Lui said.

Researchers at the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, based in Oakland, Calif., analyzed data from the 2007 Survey of Consumer Finances, a voluminous report the Federal Reserve Board issues every three years that examines household finances in this country.

Wealth, or net worth, measures the total of one's assets -- cash in the bank, stocks, bonds and real estate; minus debts -- home mortgages, auto loans, credit cards and student loans. The most recent financial data was collected before the economic downturn, so the current numbers likely are worse now than at the time of the study.

Black women, in general, were more likely to have participated in the subprime loan crisis with upper-income black women being five times more likely to have received a high-cost mortgage than upper-income white men.

"The popular image is they spend too much, which is the reason they are running up credit card and consumer debt, but the cost of living has risen faster than income, and they need to go into debt for basic daily necessities," Ms. Lui said. "It's compounded because unemployment is twice as high in the black community than it is in the white community."

For all working-age black women 18 to 64, the financial picture is bleak. Their median household wealth is only $100. Hispanic women in that age group have a median wealth of $120.

"That means half of [black women] have a net worth of more than $100 and half have a net worth of less than $100," Ms. Lui said. "So that gives you an idea of how far in debt some women of color are."

Married or cohabitating white women have a median wealth of $167,500. Married or cohabitating black women have a median net worth of $31,500.

The reasons behind the daunting financial challenges black women face are numerous and complex.

"There are excuses and circumstances that have evolved in society, which put black women where they are," said Esther Bush, executive director of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, who said in Pittsburgh more than 70 percent of African-American families are headed by single women.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 13 2010 at 3:07pm
I think it's more demonstrable to analyze white wealth-- how it originated, and how it accumulates.

Tim Wise really hit the nail on the head with a thought experiment in this vein (beginning at around 5:00 minute mark):
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 14 2010 at 12:01pm
8 months emergency savings ftw! Thumbs%20Up
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 04 2014 at 3:44pm

well, this report from the same year as the link posted above says the median wealth for a black single woman is now at $100, while white women is $41,500

Main Findings
Single black and Hispanic women have a median wealth of $100 and $120 respectively; the
median for single white women is $41,500.
While white women in the prime working years of ages 36-49 have a media wealth of $42,600,
the media wealth for women of color is only $5.
Nearly half of all single black and Hispanic women have zero or negative wealth, the latter of
which occurs when debts exceed assets.
While 57 percent of single white women own homes, only 33 percent of single black women
and 28 percent of single Hispanic women are homeowners.
Only 1 percent of single Hispanic women and 4 percent of single black women own business
assets compared to 8 percent of single white women.
Social Security is the only source of retirement income for more than 25 percent of black women.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 05 2014 at 6:49pm
and then there's this one from this year that tells more:

Black Women Are Breaking Barriers But Still Not Getting Compensated For It

Young black women have increased their high school graduation rate by 63 percent over the past 50 years, more than tripling it and “virtually eliminating the gap with Asian women (down to 2%), and significantly narrowing the gap with white women (7%),” the report notes. That gap between the rates of black women and white women has shrunk from 22 percent in 1960. They’ve also decreased their dropout rates, particularly in recent years. In 2006, 12 percent of black women dropped out of high school, and that number has declined consistently since 2007, falling by more than 40 percent and reaching 6.4 percent in 2011.

After they leave high school, black women have begun to dominate college. “Though all women lead their male counterparts in college enrollment and degree attainment,” the report says, “Black women do so at higher rates than any other group of women in America.” In 2010, they were 66 percent of all blacks who finished a Bachelor’s Degree, 71 percent with a Master’s, and 65 percent with a Doctorate.

And they keep excelling after they graduate. “As they have from the beginning of their experience in America, Black women lead all women in labor force participation rates,” according to the report. Their labor force participation rate is higher than all other women, and that continues to be true even after they become mothers. They are also very entrepreneurial, starting businesses at six times the national average and representing the fastest growing segment of women-owned businesses. Black women own more than 1 million firms, employ 272,000 people other than themselves, and generate an estimated $44.9 billion in revenue.Clap

But even as they’ve been working harder on their educations and starting more businesses, black women aren’t seeing higher returns. While women working full-time, on average, make 77 percent of what men make, black women make 64 percent of what white men make. In 2010, single black women’s median wealth, or income and assets minus obligations, was just $100, compared to single white women’s $41,500. Almost half had zero or negative wealth. Even though they participate in the workforce at elevated rates, they are stuck in low paying work — they “are more likely than any group in America to work for poverty-level wages, thereby making them the most likely of all Americans to be among the working poor,” the report notes. They also experience high unemployment rates, with a 9.9 percent rate compared to 5.1 percent for white women.

And while they are starting more businesses, they get less funding and make less money. “Race and gender bias intersect to limit access to traditional capital for Black women,” the report says. Black small business owners are being left out of small business loans in the aftermath of the recession and they are getting fewer federal contracts. Meanwhile, women-owned companies get a very small share of venture capital funding and investors are more likely to give money to men. They also trail other women in revenues, getting just 6 percent of all revenue generated by women-owned businesses. White women, on the other hand, net 29 percent.

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