race, wealth, stratification, household income
It seems obvious now, but there was a time when social scientists paid little attention to wealth as a factor in America's system of racial stratification. For many years, researchers focused primarily on black-white differentials in education, employment, and earnings; and in these dimensions progress was clearly being made. From 1963 (just before the passage of major civil rights legislation) to 2001 (just after the economic boom of the 1990s), the ratio of black-to-white median household income rose from 33 percent to 64 percent. Over the same period, the black-white ratio for high school graduates climbed from 51% to 89%, and the ratio for college graduates rose from 41%-55%. The principal source of wealth for most American households is homeownership, especially for those outside the upper echelons of the income distribution. Any social structure that affects homeownership and home values thus plays an outsized role in determining household wealth.
Original Publication Citation
Massey, Douglas S., and Jacob S. Rugh. 2018. “The Great Recession and the Destruction of Minority Wealth.” Current History 117(802):298-303
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Massey, Douglas S. and Rugh, Jacob S., "The Great Recession and the Destruction of Minority Wealth" (2018). Faculty Publications. 4105.
Family, Home, and Social Sciences
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