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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A prevailing myth about the wealth gap between white and Black Americans is that it could be closed if Black people valued hard work and education like so-called model minorities, typically Asians and other recent U.S. immigrants.

Reality check: Data shows that to be untrue. A 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics study finds that across races in the U.S., "Once families decide to invest in their children’s higher education, little difference exists in the level of expenditures between racial and ethnic groups."

The big picture: The success of recent immigrants and "model minorities" has much to do with U.S. immigration laws. Since 1965, the U.S. "has given preferential admission to those with higher-than-average levels of education; white-collar, professional, and technical employment; and thus household incomes," University of Texas history professor Madeline Y. Hsu wrote in 2015.

  • Even as newcomers, "'successful' immigrant groups actually retrieve a comparable class position as the one they held in their country of origin," the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity notes.

Between the lines: A 2019 study from Georgetown finds wealth is a better predictor of college acceptance and future success than intelligence or high test scores.

The intrigue: Research also shows that post-graduate education helps Black Americans less than it does white or Asian Americans to attain wealth and higher incomes.

  • "The median family incomes of all nonwhite groups trailed their equally educated white counterparts," a 2017 St. Louis Fed study found.

Of note: The "model minority" myth also hurts these groups, studies show, in part by lumping diverse groups who have significantly different economic and educational outcomes together, and by putting undue stress on members of those groups.

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Oct 13, 2020 - Science

Watching a star's death by black hole

Scientists have spotted a bright flash of light emitted by a star as it was destroyed by a black hole 215 million light-years away.

Why it matters: Black holes are some of the most extreme and difficult to study objects in the universe, and these types of rare events could help researchers piece together more about their nature.

Updated 4 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker