Wednesday, April 04, 2018

The Racial Wealth Gap Is Replicating

Black households are more likely than White households to have student debt. This is a problem, according to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The disparity in student debt is replicating the racial wealth gap in the younger generation.

Using data from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, visiting scholar Fenaba R. Addo of the St. Louis Fed's Center for Household Financial Stability, examines the emerging racial wealth gap among those in the 1997 cohort (first interviewed when they were aged 12 to 16) who graduated from college. Among the graduates, Blacks were less likely than Whites to receive financial help from their parents in paying college expenses—58 percent of Blacks received help versus 72 percent of Whites. The Black college graduates who received help got less than their White counterparts—$4,200 for Blacks versus $11,700 for Whites.

These disparities occurred because Black parents are far less wealthy than White parents. The Black parents in the study had an average net worth of $48,500 versus $174,900 for the White parents. With parents less able to help out, Black students are more likely to depend on student loans, and this is replicating the racial wealth gap. By age 25, according to Addo's findings, the average net worth of the White graduates exceeded that of the Black graduates by 84 percent...

Average net worth of NLSY97 college graduates at age 25
Black: $20,186
White: $37,182

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Parents' Wealth Helps Explain Racial Disparities in Student Loan Debt

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