Income and wealth inequality in the United States, especially across racial and ethnic groups, is dramatic and persistent. Wealth is generally less volatile than income, and it provides a store of resources that gives families security during emergencies and allows them to secure advantages that foster the well-being of the next generation.
The findings in this report from the National Asset Scorecard for Communities of Color (NASCC) survey reveal major disparities in wealth accumulation and income across various racial and ethnic groups in metropolitan Miami.
Median wealth for white households was estimated at $107,000. In contrast, Puerto Rican households had negative median wealth (-$3,940). South Americans and U.S. blacks had a fraction of the wealth of white households, at $1,200 and $3,700, respectively.
The median value of liquid assets for U.S. blacks and Puerto Ricans was only $11 and $200, respectively. The median value of liquid assets among Caribbean blacks and South Americans was around $2,000 and for Cubans, it was $3,200. Other Latinx households had liquid assets of $5,000. White households had a substantially higher median value of liquid assets at $10,750.
Median asset value was highest for white households, at $113,500. U.S. blacks had the lowest median total asset value, $6,700, which amounted to less than 6 percent of the median asset value of white households. The median total asset value of Puerto Ricans was only 9 percent of the white value; for South Americans it was only 11 percent and for Caribbean blacks only 12 percent.
Differences in net worth by race are more likely to have been driven by differences in asset ownership, rather than debt. Median non-household debt did not differ significantly across groups, with Cubans having the lowest median debt levels at zero.
There are large disparities in checking and savings account access between whites and other racial and ethnic groups. U.S. blacks (57 percent), Caribbean blacks (71.1 percent), Puerto Ricans (69.7 percent), South Americans (76.9 percent), and Other Hispanics (66.2 percent) are far less likely to own checking accounts than white (93.2 percent) households. Cubans (83.6 percent) also are less likely to hold checking accounts than whites, but not by as wide a margin. The findings suggest a possible market gap for affordable and appropriate financial services in communities of color in Miami.
Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity Duke University
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