Blog by Isabel Nuesse

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought long-avoided issues in the US into the light – such as the rampant racial wealth divide – and has sparked the world’s largest civil rights movement.

For instance, in Boston, white households have a median wealth of $247,500, while Dominicans and Black Households have a median wealth of close to zero.[1] And that was before COVID.

Now, the US is facing hugely disproportionate death-rates for Black and Native people than LatinX, Asian or White Americans. See the chart below:

On June 10th, Jerome H Powell, the Federal Reserve Chair said, “This is the biggest economic shock in the U.S and in the world, really, in living memory. We went from the lowest level of unemployment in 50 years to the highest level in close to 90 years, and we did it in two months.”

The Institute for Policy Studies suggests that White Supremacy is the pre-existing condition that has made the COVID-19 pandemic deadlier for people of colour. The racial wealth divide is a result of the history of the United States in of upholding the ideals and structures of White Supremacy, which disadvantage communities of colour.

The Institute for Policy Studies has identified eight solutions to ensure the post-COVID economic recovery diminishes the racial wealth divide and moves toward greater equity in wealth and assets:

  1. Improved Racial Data Collection as Part of Emergency Investments
  2. Racial Equity Audits of Crisis Relief and Recovery Policies
  3. Income Support that Expands to Guaranteed Income
  4. Postal Banking
  5. Medicare for All: Delinking Universal Health Care from a Job
  6. Expanding Inclusive Housing and Ownership
  7. Federal Jobs Guarantee with Living Wage
  8. Baby Bonds

We would highly recommend reading the full report to dive deeper into the racial wealth divide in the US and how we can start to Build Back Better toward a more equitable society.

You can follow the Institute for Policy Studies on social media – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.


[1] https://www.bostonfed.org/-/media/Documents/color-of-wealth/color-of-wealth.pdf

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