port of harlem snippets

June 20 - July 3, 2003


Census Bureau Reports: Blacks Still Short on Wealth, Long on Debt

The latest Census Bureau figures show that White households would continue to have more money than descendants of enslaved Americans and colonized Africans - - after both groups sell all their assets and pay their bills. The difference between one's assets and liabilities is net worth.

The typical net worth of Whites with the smallest incomes was $24,000. Among Blacks in the same income range, it was only $57.

The net worth gulf does not change among those who have the largest incomes. Among Whites with the highest incomes, their net worth was $208,023. The net worth among Blacks with the same incomes was only $65,141.

The study also showed that Blacks hold a much higher proportion of their net worth in durable goods such as housing and cars. Blacks tend to shy away from stocks and mutual fund shares, and interest-earning assets at financial institutions.

The typical White householder's home has about $56,834 of equity, for Blacks the figure stands at $6,334. Debt also eats ups about $11 of every $100 Blacks have in assets. For Whites, it's less than $3 for every $100.

"This differential is a direct legacy of our enslavement period," says Attorney Nkechi Taifia. "We worked for hundreds of years without pay and were not able to pass down the fruits of our labor to our children. Conversely, European-Americans could pass down the fruits of our unpaid labor down to their heirs," continued the co-chair of the Legislative Committee of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N'COBRA).

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