Report: 'White households in DC have a net worth 81 times greater than Black households'

Thursday, November 3, 2016
ABC 7 News

"WASHINGTON (ABC7) — Beginning with this sentence -- "White households in DC have a net worth 81 times greater than Black households" -- a new report from the Urban Institute examines what they say is a long history of systemic racism and discrimination in Washington to explain the wealth gap between White communities and communities of color. The Great Recession of 2007-2009 wiped out about half of household wealth for Black and Latino families in D.C., according to the report, The Color of Wealth in the Nation's Capital. But the authors detail events and policies going back to the 1840s that they say have made it more difficult for Black families to build net worth."

"The report is A Joint Publication of the Urban Institute, Duke University, The New School, and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. A survey conducted in 2013 and 2014 found that White households in D.C. had a net worth of $284,000 while the net worth of Black households was only $3,500. For Black families who own their home, the average value is about $250,000 but for Whites it’s about 50 percent higher. The path to Black wealth in D.C. has been limited or blocked for more than two centuries, according to the authors of the report. Whether enslaved, barred from jobs in lucrative sectors, diverted from a stake in land giveaways, seeing their neighborhoods targeted for "urban renewal," or watching their housing options squeezed by federal redlining, Black families in the District have had little chance to build wealth. In the 21st century, a demographic shift has been increasing, accompanied by gentrification in D.C. In the 1970s, the Black population of the city was about 70 percent, but that has dropped to 48 percent. The White population has increased from 28 percent at its lowest point to about 50 percent."

"With gentrification changing the face of neighborhoods, rents for a two-bedroom apartment shot up by 45 percent from 1999 to 2005, according to the report. In the years preceding the Great Recession, “'Black residents were three times as likely to be targeted for subprime loans during the housing boom, and their home purchases were much more likely to end in foreclosure,” the authors report.'"

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