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Investing Specialists

100 Must-Know Statistics About Race, Income, and Wealth

Income and wealth disparities along racial lines have repercussions for all aspects of life in the U.S.: education, health, homeownership, retirement, and life expectancy.

A version of this article previously appeared on Sept. 11, 2020.

Racial inequality in the United States has many dimensions, but one of the most impactful and broad-ranging is economic. On average, people of color experience significantly lower levels of income, retirement savings, and rates of homeownership than white Americans. Those shortfalls contribute mightily to other ill effects: poorer healthcare outcomes, lower educational attainment, and shorter life expectancies, for example. The pandemic has exacerbated many of these issues. 

Making strides toward improving these issues, let alone solving them, is far from simple. But a key first step is acknowledging and understanding the magnitude of the problem. And if there's a single positive associated with financial inequality along racial lines, it's that it's incredibly easy to demonstrate with data.

Here are some key statistics about the impact of the racial divide for income, savings, and overall financial well-being. Note that each figure links to the source material for the data. 

Pandemic Effects

  • 9.9%: Unemployment rate, Black Americans, December 2020.
  • 5.4%: Unemployment rate, Black Americans, December 2019. 
  • 5.8%: Unemployment rate, white Americans, December 2020.
  • 3.0%: Unemployment rate, white Americans, December 2019.
  • 8.7%: Unemployment rate, Hispanic Americans, December 2020.
  • 4.0%: Unemployment rate, Hispanic Americans, December 2019.
  • 6.7%: Unemployment rate, Asian Americans, December 2020.
  • 2.6%: Unemployment rate, Asian Americans, December 2019.
  • 4.3 percentage points: Decrease in labor force participation, Black women, February 2020-December 2020.
  • 1.6 percentage points: Decrease in labor force participation, white women, February 2020-December 2020.
  • 3.8 percentage points: Decrease in labor force participation, Hispanic women, February 2020-December 2020.
  • 19.7%: Percentage of Black Americans able to telework, 2017-2018. 
  • 29.9%: Percentage of white Americans able to telework, 2017-2018.
  • 16.2%: Percentage of Hispanic Americans able to telework, 2017-2018.
  • 37.0%: Percentage of Asian-Americans able to telework, 2017-2018.
  • 36%: Percentage of Black workers in “frontline” jobs, 2018. (Frontline occupations are defined as those involving close face-to-face contacts with consumers, clients, and patients, or where social distancing is difficult--for example, poultry processing.) 
  • 20%: Percentage of white workers in “frontline” jobs, 2018.
  • 33%: Percentage of Hispanic workers in “frontline” jobs, 2018.
  • 25%: Percentage of Asian-American workers in “frontline” jobs, 2018.

 

Income

  • $45,438: Real median household income, Black households in the U.S., 2019.
  • $76,057: Real median household income, non-Hispanic white households in the U.S., 2019.
  • $56,113: Real median household income, Hispanic households in the U.S., 2019.
  • $98,174: Real median household income, Asian households in the U.S., 2019.
  • 7.9%: Real income growth between 2018 and 2019, Black households in the U.S.
  • 5.7%: Real income growth between 2018 and 2019, non-Hispanic white households in the U.S.
  • 7.1%: Real income growth between 2018 and 2019, Hispanic households in the U.S.
  • 10.6%: Real income growth between 2018 and 2019, Asian households in the U.S.
  • $0.59: The amount earned by the median Black household for every $1 earned by the median white household in the U.S., 2018.
  • $0.73: The amount earned by the median Hispanic household for every $1 earned by the median white household in the U.S., 2018.

Poverty

  • 18.8%: Poverty rate among Black Americans, 2019. 
  • 9.1%: Poverty rate among white Americans, 2019.
  • 15.7%: Poverty rate among Hispanic Americans, 2019.
  • 7.3%: Poverty rate among Asian Americans, 2019.
  • 26%: Poverty rate among Black children (under 18), 2019. 
  • 8%: Poverty rate among white children (under 18), 2019.
  • 21%: Poverty rate among Hispanic children (under 18), 2019.
  • 7%: Poverty rate among Asian children (under 18), 2019. 
  • 17.9%: Poverty rate among Black people age 65 and above, 2019. 
  • 6.8%: Poverty rate among non-Hispanic white people age 65 and above, 2019.
  • 17.1%: Poverty rate among Hispanic people age 65 and above, 2019.
  • 9.3%: Poverty rate among Asian people age 65 and above, 2019.

Household Net Worth 

  • $24,100: Median household net worth, all Black households, 2019. 
  • $189,100: Median household net worth, all white households, 2019.
  • $36,050: Median household net worth, Hispanic households, 2019.
  • $10,010: Median household net worth, Black households where household head completed high school only, 2016.
  • $100,600: Median household net worth, white households where household head completed high school only, 2016.
  • $26,800: Median household net worth, Hispanic households where household head completed high school only, 2016.
  • $52,301: Median household net worth, all other households where household head completed high school only, 2016.
  • $68,300: Median household net worth, Black households where household head has college degree, 2016.
  • $391,000: Median household net worth, white households where household head has college degree, 2016.
  • $73,910: Median household net worth, Hispanic households where household head has college degree, 2016.
  • $368,600: Median household net worth, all other households where household head has college degree, 2016.
  • 10%: Percentage of Black families that have received an inheritance, 2019. 
  • 30%: Percentage of white families that have received an inheritance, 2019.
  • 7%: Percentage of Hispanic families that have received an inheritance, 2019.
  • 41%: Percentage of Black households that could get $3,000 from family or friends. 
  • 72%: Percentage of white households that could get $3,000 from family or friends. 
  • 58%: Percentage of Hispanic households that could get $3,000 from family or friends.

Retirement/Retirement Assets

  • 35%: Percentage of Black families with retirement savings, 2019.
  • 57%: Percentage of white families with retirement savings, 2019.
  • 26%: Percentage of Hispanic families with retirement savings, 2019.
  • 17%: Percentage of Black families with retirement savings, 1989.
  • 44%: Percentage of white families with retirement savings, 1989.
  • 16%: Percentage of Hispanic families with retirement savings, 1989.
  • $35,000: Median balance for Black families with retirement accounts, 2019.
  • $80,000: Median balance for white families with retirement accounts, 2019.
  • $31,000: Median balance for Hispanic families with retirement accounts, 2019.
  • 33%: Percentage of Black families participating in a 401(k)-style defined-contribution plan, 2016.
  • 51%: Percentage of non-Hispanic white families participating in a 401(k)-style defined-contribution plan, 2016.
  • 28%: Percentage of Hispanic families participating in a a 401(k)-style defined-contribution plan, 2016.
  • 17%: Percentage of Black families covered by a pension, 2016.
  • 21%: Percentage of non-Hispanic white families covered by a pension, 2016.
  • 13%: Percentage of Hispanic families covered by a pension, 2016.
  • 33%: Percentage of Black Americans age 65 and older for whom Social Security is their sole source of retirement income.
  • 18%: Percentage of white Americans age 65 and older for whom Social Security is their sole source of retirement income.
  • 40%: Percentage of Hispanic Americans age 65 and older for whom Social Security is their sole source of retirement income.
  • 85%: The average monthly Social Security retirement benefit for Black Americans as a percentage of the average benefit for white retirees.

Homeownership 

  • 45%: Rate of homeownership among Black American households, 2019.
  • 74%: Rate of homeownership among non-Hispanic white households, 2019.
  • 48%: Rate of homeownership among Hispanic households, 2019.
  • $150,000: Median home value, Black homeowners. 2019.
  • $230,000: Median home value, white homeowners, 2019.
  • $200,000: Median home value, Hispanic homeowners, 2019.

Education 

  • 24%: Percentage of Black population with a bachelor's degree or higher, 2017.
  • 38%: Percentage of white population with a bachelor's degree or higher, 2017.
  • 17%: Percentage of Hispanic population with a bachelor's degree or higher, 2017.
  • 38%: Completion rate for Black students starting at 4-year universities, 2017.
  • 62%: Completion rate for white students starting at 4-year universities, 2017.
  • $23,400: Average amount of student-loan debt at graduation for Black students who have earned their bachelor's degrees.
  • $16,000: Average amount of student-loan debt at graduation for white students who have earned their bachelor's degrees.
  • $52,726: Average amount of student-loan debt four years after graduation for Black college graduates.
  • $28,006: Average amount of student-loan debt four years after graduation for white college graduates.
  • 40%: Percentage of Black college graduates who take on debt to pay for graduate school.
  • 22%: Percentage of white college graduates who take on debt to pay for graduate school.

Life Expectancy

  • 77.9 years: Life expectancy at birth, Black women, 2016.
  • 71.5 years: Life expectancy at birth, Black men, 2016.
  • 81.0 years: Life expectancy at birth, white women, 2016.
  • 76.1 years: Life expectancy at birth, white men, 2016.
  • 84.2 years: Life expectancy at birth, Hispanic women, 2016.
  • 79.1 years: Life expectancy at birth, Hispanic men, 2016.