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Reproduced from Zaw e. al, 2017, "Women, Race & Wealth"; Note: "With children" refers to households with children under 18; Chart: Axios Visuals

In proposing fixes for the racial wealth gap in the U.S., public figures can conflate the effects of inequality with causes, researchers say.

What's happening: Often the increased rate of Black single motherhood or "Black family disorganization" is referenced as a reason for the gap in wealth accumulation.

  • "These explanations tend to confuse consequence and cause and are largely driven by claims that if Blacks change their behavior, they would see marked increases in wealth accumulation," note researchers from the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity in 2018.
  • "This is a dangerous narrative that is steeped in racist stereotypes."

Between the lines: "Compared to both white and Hispanic women, Black women marry later in life, are less likely to marry at all, and have higher rates of marital instability," a 2015 study posted to the National Institutes of Health library finds.

  • And marriage clearly helps increase family wealth. Data show that married Black women have substantially more wealth than single Black women.

Yes, but: "[W]ealth differences among white and Black women persist despite type of family structure, marriage, age, or education," the DuBois Cook Center's study finds, tracking data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics.

  • "In fact, single white women with kids have the same amount of wealth as single Black women without kids."
  • "The median single-parent white family has more than twice the wealth of the median Black or Latino family with two parents."

The state of play: The racial wealth gap among women and families is upheld in large part by intergenerational transfers "like financing a college education, providing help with the down payment on a house and other gifts to seed asset accumulation," per the DuBois Cook Center.

The bottom line: "[N]either marriage, a college education nor a lifetime of work provides the answer for equalizing opportunity between Black and white women."

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Oct 20, 2020 - Economy & Business

"Corporate redlining" has cost Black neighborhoods millions

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The number of SBA loans to Black-owned businesses has decreased 84% from its peak before the 2008 financial crisis, according to a new report from the Business Journals, citing lending data from the agency’s flagship 7(a) program. Overall 7(a) loans declined 53% during that time.

Why it matters: The precipitous decline in loans to Black-owned businesses, in particular, was despite 48% growth in the economy, a 101% increase in bank deposits and an 82% jump in commercial loans, the report notes.

25 mins ago - World

Jake Sullivan discussed human rights and Yemen with Saudi crown prince

MBS in 2018. Photo: Fayez Nureldine/AFP via Getty

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed efforts to end the war in Yemen, the de-escalation of regional tensions with Iran and Saudi Arabia's human rights record in their meeting on Monday, a senior U.S. official told Axios.

Why it matters: This was Sullivan's first trip to the Middle East since taking up his post in January and he was the most senior visitor to the kingdom so far from the Biden administration, which has kept the crown prince at arms length over his roles in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the war in Yemen.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Top Pentagon officials contradict Biden on Afghanistan advice

Photo: Carolone Brehman/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Top military leaders confirmed in a Senate hearing Tuesday they recommended earlier this year that the U.S. keep 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, and that they believed withdrawing those forces would lead to the collapse of the Afghan military.

Why it matters: Biden denied last month that his top military advisers wanted troops to remain in Afghanistan, telling ABC's George Stephanopoulos: "No one said that to me that I can recall."

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