Narrowing the Wealth Gap

The recent economic crisis hit all Americans hard. The effects were devastating and far-reaching: unemployment skyrocketed, credit disappeared, home values plummeted and the value of retirement plans dropped severely. After this unprecedented destruction of wealth, our economy is only now beginning to move toward recovery.

In spite of this progress, broad-based generational inequities persist in our national economy, hindering opportunity for tens of millions of Americans, most particularly low and middle-income Americans and communities of color.

The statistics confirm a startling truth: the racial wealth gap is widening. In fact, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the average wealth level for whites is $134,000 – as compared to astonishingly – only $14,000 for Latinos and $11,000 for African-Americans. These appalling numbers only get worse upon deeper analysis. Though only one in nine whites has less than $1,000 in assets, that ratio is one-in-four for Latinos and one-in-every three for African-Americans.

Despite Republicans’ claims to the contrary, an unbridled free market cannot solve these remarkably uneven and unstable economic disparities. Our federal government – which has historically enabled, and at times exacerbated, these disparities—has an essential, integral role in remedying the structural disadvantages that persist along, racial and ethnic lines in this country.

Democrats are committed to using the Financial Services Committee to raise awareness of these broad disparities and push policies that address the wealth gap. Read more about their efforts below. 

Information about this critical work is outlined below: 


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In Case You Missed It: Articles

  • A Shattered Foundation,  by Michael A. Fletcher -… This is the first part in a series - Residents of Prince George’s, the nation’s highest-income majority-black county, lost far more wealth during the financial crisis than families in neighboring, majority-white suburbs. … Read full story at

  • Broken By The Bubble, by Kimbriell Kelly, John Sullivan, Steven Rich -… This is the second part in a series - Half of the loans on newly constructed homes in one Prince George’s County subdivision during the housing boom in 2006 and 2007 wound up in foreclosure … Read full story at

  • Swamped By An Underwater Home, by Kimriell Kelly, -…This is the third part in a series - The plight of the Boateng family, which faces more than $1 million in debt, shows how some of the people swallowed up by the easy credit era have yet to reemerge.… Read full story at 
  • Middle Class Shrinks Further as More Fall Out Instead of Climbing Up, by Dionne Searcey and Robert Gebeloff - …The middle class that President Obama identified in his State of the Union speech last week as the foundation of the American economy has been shrinking for almost half a century. .… Read full story at 

  • Study Shows Wealth Gap Continues To Widen, by Christine Dugas - …The wealth gap between white and African-American families has nearly tripled over 25 years, according to a study released today by the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University .… Read full story at

  • Wealth Gap Widens Between Whites, Minorities, … The wealth of white households was 13 times greater than that of black households in 2013, versus eight times the wealth in 2010. And the wealth of white households was more than 10 times that of Hispanic households, up from nine times the wealth in 2010 .… Read full story at / AP

  • Fueled by Recession, U.S. Wealth Gap Is Widest in Decades, Study Finds, by Patricia Cohen … The wealthy are getting wealthier. As for everyone else, no such luck. A report released on Wednesday by the Pew Research Center found that the wealth gap between the country’s top 20 percent of earners and the rest of America had stretched to its widest point in at least three decades .… Read full story at

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