Panel Paper: Home, Neighborhood, and the Racial Wealth Gap

Thursday, November 8, 2012 : 1:55 PM
Pratt B (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Thomas Shapiro1, Hannah Thomas2 and Tatjana Meschede1, (1)Brandeis University, Institute on Assets and Social Policy, (2)Institute on Assets and Social Policy

In 1998 African Americans held ten cents for every dollar of wealth that a white family held. When we compared families’ wealth between 1984 and 2009 using Panel Study on Income Dynamics (PSID) data, the wealth gap grew from $20,000 to $95,000. Using analysis of the PSID data, and a unique data-set of longitudinal interviews with a sample of white and African American families from across the US, this paper examines some of the drivers of the racial wealth gap. Specifically it looks at the role that homeownership and neighborhood play in wealth and the opportunities that wealth creates between the two groups. The paper will suggest policy solutions to address the growing wealth gap and the role of housing.