By Victor Ochieng
When it comes to earning, it’s widely known that men earn more than women, regardless of race. However, when focusing only on women, black women score very low. A new study report released by Pittsburgh Post Gazette revealed that the median wealth of single black women stands at only $5.
The disparities are alarming. The report released on Monday by a reputable economic research group highlighted a gap that needs to be closed, considering that these are women who would not even think of taking an unpaid sick. In fact, this is the lot that cannot afford a major repair, or a broken home appliance without running into a debt of some sort.
It’s seriously alarming when a comparison is done between women of different races. The fact that the median wealth of white women in their prime, between 36 and 49 is $42,600, yet that of single black women is $5 is worrying by any definition.
“Even for those of us who have been looking at the wealth gap for a while, we were shocked and amazed at how little women of color have,” Ms. Lui said.
The report was compiled by the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, an organization stationed in Oakland, California. The data used for the study are from the 2007 Survey of Consumer Finances by the Federal Reserve Board. The board issues similar reports every three years, looking into the finances of every household across the nation.
The report releases the wealth, or net worth, of every household, summing up the value of every asset and then subtracting the value of all debts such as car loans, credit cards, mortgages, and student loans.
The 2007 Survey of Consumer Finances data was released before the recession, meaning that the figures could be more worrying at the moment.
The gaps can be attributed to a number of factors.
“The popular image is they spend too much, which is the reason they are running up credit card and consumer debt, but the cost of living has risen faster than income, and they need to go into debt for basic daily necessities,” Ms. Lui said. “It’s compounded because unemployment is twice as high in the black community than it is in the white community.”
On the other hand, the median wealth of black women within the working age, 18-64 years, stands at only $100, while that of Hispanic women is $120. On the other hand, the median wealth for married or cohabitating black women is $31,500 while that of their white peers is $167,500.
“There are excuses and circumstances that have evolved in society, which put black women where they are,” said Esther Bush, executive director of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh.