Racial Wealth Gap

As important as homeownership, business ownership, and higher education are, we must go beyond simply promoting more of each if we want to close the racial wealth gap. In The Racial Wealth Gap—Moving to Systemic Solutions, Shelterforce widens the lens on the racial wealth gap and what needs to be done about it. The series launched in February 2022 and will run for several weeks. Don’t miss a beat by signing up for our weekly newsletter.

From left, Steve Dubb of NPQ, Anne Price of Insight Center for Community Economic Development, Jeremie Greer of Liberation in a Generation, Gary Cunningham of Prosperity Now, john a. powell of the Othering & Belonging Institute, and Miriam Axel-Lute of Shelterforce.

Closing the Racial Wealth Gap: A Webinar with NPQ

Four leaders in the field discuss strategic approaches to closing the racial wealth gap.

How Tax Assessments are Racist

Between biased property appraisals that undervalue Black-owned properties and biased tax assessments that levy an unfair burden, homeowners of color are flanked by a double-whammy of racism.

Push Back on the Racial Wealth Gap

Authors from Shelterforce’s recent series about the racial wealth gap and other experts talk wealth building, wealth extraction, and the tools available to help close the gap.

Making Homeownership Work Better

Programs that help households of color buy homes haven't made much of a dent in the racial wealth gap. But some strategies could generate better outcomes for buyers.

Rethinking Homeownership Incentives to Shrink the Racial Wealth Gap

This set of federal tax policy recommendations could support first-time homebuyers, enable renters and owners to save money, and help close the wealth gap.
aerial view of suburban development

Increased Homeownership Won’t Close the Racial Wealth Gap

Despite the hopes pinned on it, homeownership is currently too affected by racism at every turn to be an equalizer.

The Racial Wealth Gap Begins With Our Tax Code

Dorothy A. Brown’s The Whiteness of Wealth breaks down the deleterious effect our tax code has had on Black lives. Crown, 2021, 288 pp., $27 (hardcover); $17 (softcover).

Property Tax Relief Programs Don’t Reach Many Homeowners of Color

Property tax relief programs can be essential for helping older and lower-income homeowners keep their homes. But access to them isn’t universal, or equitable.

Blaming Redlining Is Too Easy

Expanding access to the housing market is unlikely to do much to close the racial wealth gap. Here’s why.

A Home’s True Worth—Getting Beyond Appraisal Bias

Homes owned by people of color are appraised for less than identical homes owned by white families. Nationwide, that’s led to more than $150 billion in lost equity. How can we stop appraisal bias?

Credit Where Credit Is Due: Expanding Access to Capital for BIPOC Developers

The dual financial system affects not only Black and Brown consumers, but Black- and Brown-led firms. In the past two years, CDFIs have focused on shifting access to capital for developers.
Bank corporate finance building seen from below. The sign "bank" visible close. Sky reflecting in the glass facade. More Facade pictures below

The Post-Protest Pledges: Banks’ Racial Equity Initiatives

It’s been almost two years since the racial justice reckoning galvanized big banks to promise billions of dollars to increase racial equity and close the wealth gap. What are those dollars going toward, and how big a change do they represent?

The Role Student Debt Plays in the Racial Wealth Gap

What explains the large disparity in Black and white student debt, and what can we do to address the student debt crisis and close the racial wealth gap?
A smart phone and a ballpoint pen rest on top of a very expensive medical invoice indicating a patient's share of the bill. The bill is stamped past due.

The Long Road to Recovery From Medical Debt

Disproportionate amounts of medical debt contribute to the racial wealth gap. What can be done?

The Debt Trap: How Court Debt Widens the Racial Wealth Gap

Debt related to justice-system involvement falls most heavily on overpoliced communities, extracting wealth and preventing the building of more.

Wealth Building Won’t Work While Wealth Extraction Continues

Typical approaches to closing the racial wealth gap focus on ways to help Black households build wealth. But for that to stick, we must also stop siphoning their wealth away.

Rethinking the Racial Wealth Gap With Anne Price

A lot of conversations about the racial wealth gap focuses too much on homeownership as the only solution. It's much more complex. Shelterforce's Miriam Axel-Lute talks with Anne Price, president of the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.

Doing “The Right Thing” Won’t Close the Racial Wealth Gap

Solutions to address racial wealth inequality have often focused on behavioral changes and individual choices, minimizing efforts to dismantle structural barriers to wealth accumulation for Black Americans.

Moving Beyond the Holy Trinity of Racial Wealth Gap Answers

We’ve been carrying out asset-building strategies for decades now, but the wealth gap has not shrunk. What needs to be done about it?