The Color Of Wealth In Miami: Highlights From William Darity’s New Report On Racial Inequality

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Written by Dana Sanchez
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MIAMI – USA, JULY 29 of 2017. Nike Football – Barcelona X Real Madrid at Hard Rock Stadium. Photo: Caio Guatelli

To understand how wealth inequality persists, it’s important to study disparities in and across ethnic groups and compare them, says economist William A. “Sandy” Darity.

There’s just one problem: there’s not a much data.

A leading U.S. economist and expert in wealth inequality, Darity is a professor of public policy, African and African American studies and economics at Duke University.


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Darity’s name has been in the news a lot lately.

His Baby Bonds proposal has become a pillar of Sen. Cory Booker’s campaign for president. Baby Bonds are an idea to help create wealth equality by endowing every newborn infant with an amount of money at birth — say $50. The value of the endowment would grow with the child, based on the wealth of the child’s family. At age 18, the beneficiary can access the money.

Darity and a team of scholars have produced a series of reports on wealth disparity and the implications for U.S. economic health, equity and social justice called the National Assets Scorecard for Communities of Color. The survey was developed to fill a void in existing national data.

The most recent report, released today, is on race and wealth in Miami, Florida.

“Wealth is crucial,” according to the authors of the report. “It is a store of resources that gives families security during emergencies and allows them to secure advantages that foster the well-being of the next generation. Wealth enables families and individuals to make investments in homes, education, businesses, and overall well-being. In addition, wealth provides resilience over a lifetime.”

These are some key findings from the Color Of Wealth In Miami report:

Median wealth for Black U.S. households is $3,700

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By comparison, median wealth for white households was estimated at $107,000.

Cuban households: $22,000

Caribbean Blacks households: $12,000

Puerto Rican households: negative median wealth (-$3,940).

South American households: $1,200

Other Latinx households: $10,500

Median value of liquid assets for U.S. Blacks: $11

White households median value of liquid assets: $10,750

Blacks holding checking and savings accounts: 57 percent

Whites holding checking and savings accounts: 93.2 percent

11 percent of U.S. Blacks own stocks

40 percent of white households own stocks

Credit card debt levels are similar across all groups

Student loan debt is highest for Caribbean Blacks and South Americans. U.S. Blacks report high student loan debt but low rate of degree attainment. This means they lack the labor market returns conferred by bachelor’s degrees but still have the burden of student loan debt.

Home ownership rates in the Miami metro area

Amongst Cubans: 63.9 percent

Whites: 63.6 percent

Caribbean Blacks: 61.6 percent

U.S. blacks: 50.8 percent

Puerto Ricans: 47 percent

Car ownership rates in the Miami metro area

More than 90 percent of whites and 86 percent of Cubans owned a vehicle, while78 percent of U.S. Blacks owns a vehicle.

“The large disparities identified in this report demonstrate the persistence of wealth divides and raise fundamental questions for policymakers,” te report concluded. “Policies are needed that provide opportunities for asset development; fair access to housing, credit, and financial services; opportunity for good-paying jobs; strengthening retirement incomes; promoting access to education without overburdening individuals with debt; and providing access to health care while helping minimize medical debt.”


About Dana Sanchez

Dana Sanchez was born in South Africa and is a U.S. citizen. After working in advertising, she went back to school and earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of South Florida. As a business writer, she won regional and national writing awards. As editor of a daily newspaper, she coordinated staff writers, freelancers and photographers in the fast-paced environment of daily news. Dana was an editor at Moguldom Media Group for four years, helping to build and manage a team of staff and freelance writers. She works now on Moguldom.com for Nubai Ventures. A long-distance hiker and cyclist, she writes about the business of technology.