Inequality in the “Cradle of Liberty”: Race/Ethnicity and Wealth in Greater Boston

Abstract

New data collected for the Boston Metropolitan Statistical Area provide detailed information on financial assets that allow analysis to extend beyond the traditional black–white divide. Targeting US-born blacks, Caribbean blacks, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and other Hispanics, findings from the National Asset Scorecard for Communities of Color survey underscore the large racial and ethnic disparities in financial wealth, even after controlling for demographic and socioeconomic status. Further, some notable differences between Boston’s communities of color highlight the importance of detailed analyses for research on the racial wealth gap. In particular, among non-white communities Dominicans report comparatively low asset and high debt amounts, while Caribbean blacks report relatively higher levels of wealth. Altogether, these findings point to the need for wealth building opportunities in communities of color and further investigation of the causes and consequences of financial disparities between groups of color disaggregated by specific ancestral origin.

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