The Western New York 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge

day 10: the racial wealth gap and financial stability

Wealth is more than just jobs. It includes annual median income, homeownership, access to a college education, access to workplace or self-employment retirement plans, and more. The racial wealth gap in the United States is staggering. According to the U.S. Federal Reserve, white families have an average net worth of more than $934,000, compared to Black families with an average net worth of $138,000, and Hispanic families with an average net worth of $191,000. These figures consider assets like homes, vehicles, income, retirement accounts, and other wealth-related items. 

Contributing to the wealth gap are factors like income inequality, earnings gaps, homeownership rates, retirement savings, student loan debt, and inequitable asset building opportunities. This inequity in financial resources exists in our community, holding many back for decades, simply because of the color of their skin.


60% of POC (POC = Asian, Black, Hawaiian, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, and/or two or more races) households in WNY have incomes below the ALICE threshold - they earn above the Federal Poverty Level, but struggle to afford basic household necessities. In comparison, only 36% of white households in WNY have incomes which put them below the ALICE threshold. Source: ALICE Report: 2018



  1. Watch “Explained | Racial Wealth Gap.” (17 minutes)
  2. Explore these data graphs by the Urban Institute about wealth inequality in America. Looking at all of the data together, what story is this telling you? (10 minutes)
  3. Check out Vox Media’s visual explanation of the wealth gap and how cuts to tax rates for the rich have led to drastic inequality in the last 50 years. (10 minutes)


DAY 11: How Your Race Affects Your Health


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