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The Racial Wealth Gap in America: Asset Types Held by Race

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Racial Wealth Gap

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The Racial Wealth Gap

People of color have faced economic inequality for generations, and the recent wave of Black Lives Matter protests has renewed discussions on these disparities.

Compared to White families, other races have lower levels of income and net worth. They are also less likely to hold assets of any type. In fact, 19% of Black families have zero or negative net worth, while only 9% of White households have no wealth.

Today’s chart uses data from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s triennial Survey of Consumer Finances to highlight the racial wealth gap, and the proportion of households that own different kinds of assets by racial group.

Asset Types Held By Race

The financial profile between racial groups varies widely. Below is the percentage of U.S. families with each type of asset, according to the most recent survey from 2016.

 WhiteBlackHispanicOther
Primary Residence73%45%46%54%
Vehicle90%73%80%80%
Retirement Accounts60%34%30%48%
Family-owned Business Equity15%7%6%13%
Publicly-traded Stocks61%31%28%47%

Vehicles are the most common asset across all racial groups, followed by a primary residence.

However, the level of equity—or home value less debts—families have in their houses differs by race. White families have equity of $215,800, whereas Black and Hispanic households have net housing wealth of $94,400 and $129,800 respectively.

In addition, White households are more likely to hold financial assets such as retirement accounts, family businesses, and stocks. These assets are instrumental in building wealth, and are prominent in the wealth composition of America’s richest families.

With fewer people of color holding these assets, they miss out on higher average returns than low-risk assets, as well as the power of compound interest. These portfolio differences are striking, but they are not the most important contributing factor in the racial wealth gap.

Demographic and Economic Variations

White households are also more likely to have demographic characteristics that are associated with wealth. According to the U.S. Federal Reserve, they are:

  • Older, with more than half of households age 55 and up
  • More highly educated, with 51% having some type of degree
  • Less likely to have a single parent
  • More likely to have received an inheritance

For example, 39% of White heads of households have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 23% and 17% for Black and Hispanic household heads, respectively. However, education doesn’t fully explain the wealth inequities.

Racial Wealth Gap by Education

Enormous wealth disparities exist between families with the same education level. Even in cases where Black and Hispanic household heads have obtained a bachelor’s degree, their families’ median wealth of $68,000 and $78,000 respectively is still lower than the $98,000 median wealth for White families where the head has no bachelor’s degree.

After accounting for demographic factors, researchers still found there were considerable inequities. What, then, could be primarily responsible for the racial wealth gap?

The Income Gap

While previous research found that the wealth gap is “too big” to be explained by a difference in income, a recent study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland offers a new perspective. Focusing on White and Black U.S. households only, researchers analyzed the dynamics of wealth accumulation over time, as opposed to previous studies that considered short time periods.

They found that income inequality was the primary contributor to the racial wealth gap. According to the model, if Black and White households had earned the same labor income from 1962 onwards, the Black-to-White wealth ratio would have reached 0.9 by 2007.

Moving forward, the study concludes that policy changes will likely have a positive impact if they address issues contributing to income gaps. This includes reducing racial discrimination in the labor market, and creating programs, such as mentorships, that improve environments for specific racial subgroups.

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Politics

Visualizing the UK and EU Trade Relationship

The UK and the EU have recently laid out new terms for their relationship. So how important is the UK’s trade with the EU?

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Visualizing the UK and EU Trade Relationship

With Brexit solidified and a new trade deal having been struck between the UK and the EU, it appears that a sense of normalcy has returned to the European continent.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the two entities came into effect on January 1st, 2021, corresponding with the UK officially leaving the EU Single Market and Customs Union on the same day. The new deal will help the status quo of trade continue, but how important is trade between the EU and the UK?

This visualization, using data from the British House of Commons’ Statistics on UK-EU Trade Briefing Paper, reveals the significance of trade between the UK and EU member states.

Who Does the UK Trade With in the EU?

The EU is the UK’s biggest global trading partner, representing 47% of the country’s total trade.

To break it down further, the EU is the buyer of 42.6% of the UK’s total exports, while also being the source of 51.8% of their total imports. Here’s a closer look at exports and imports by country.

Country % of UK's Exports to the EU% of UK Imports from the EU
🇩🇪 Germany18.9%20.9%
🇳🇱 Netherlands14.2%13.8%
🇫🇷 France13.7%12.1%
🇮🇪 Ireland13.6%8.0%
🇮🇹 Italy6.9%6.8%
🇪🇸 Spain6.8%8.6%
🇧🇪 Belgium6.1%7.7%
🇸🇪 Sweden3.4%3.3%
🇵🇱 Poland2.6%3.9%
🇩🇰 Denmark2.2%2.2%
🇱🇺 Luxembourg1.8%1.0%
🇦🇹 Austria1.1%1.4%
🇨🇿 Czech Repbulic1.1%1.8%
🇫🇮 Finland 1.1%0.8%
🇵🇹 Portugal1.1%1.5%
🇬🇷 Greece0.9%1.0%
🇷🇴 Romania0.9%1.1%
🇭🇺 Hungary0.7%1.3%
🇲🇹 Malta0.7%0.2%
🇨🇾 Cyprus0.6%0.3%
🇸🇰 Slovakia0.5%0.9%
🇧🇬 Bulgaria0.3%0.4%
🇱🇹 Lithuania0.3%0.4%
🇱🇻 Latvia 0.2%0.3%
🇸🇮 Slovenia0.2%0.1%
🇭🇷 Croatia0.1%0.2%
🇪🇪 Estonia0.1%0.1%
🇪🇺 Total EU 28100%100%

The UK’s biggest trading partners within the EU are Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, and France. Germany comes in at number one, making up nearly 21% of the UK’s imports and receiving almost 19% of the country’s exports.

Here’s a breakdown of the trade balances between the UK and the individual EU member states.

uk trade with eu

What’s in the Bag?

In any trade relationship, it’s also worth examining what types of products and services are switching hands.

Top Imports

The UK’s top three goods imports from the EU (in terms of percentage of total imports) are:

  • Motor vehicles (18%)
  • Pharmaceuticals (7%)
  • Electric machinery and appliances (4%)

Without the new agreement, goods would face tariffs based on the World Trade Organization’s standards. For example, motor vehicles, would have an average tariff of 10% imposed on them, without the provisions of the agreement.

The UK’s top three service imports from the EU are:

  • Travel (33%)
  • Business services (27%)
  • Transportation (18%)

Looking at services, the main import from the EU is travel, followed closely by business services and transportation. Travel makes the top three, as many countries in the EU make attractive vacation spots for UK citizens.

Top Exports

The UK’s top three goods exports to the EU (in terms of percentage of total exports to the EU) are:

  • Petroleum and petroleum products (12%)
  • Motor vehicles (10%)
  • Transport equipment (6%)

In terms of exports, petroleum is the UK’s largest export to the EU, representing 68% of the country’s total petroleum exports.

The UK’s top three service exports to the EU are:

  • Business services (33%)
  • Financial services (21%)
  • Travel (14%)

The main service export is business services, such as accounting, legal, advertising, R&D, engineering, and so on. Travel to the UK is a significant revenue generator as London is one of the top tourist destinations in the world.

EU vs. Global Trade

The UK’s relationship with other countries has remained steady. China is one of the country’s most important export destinations, growing 7% per year from 2010-2019.

At the same time, the UK’s exports to the United States have grown just over 4% per year over the same period, continuing to increase at a similar rate up to 2030.

uk trade with eu

While the UK currently has a £79 billion ($108 billion) trade deficit with the EU, they have a surplus of £49 billion ($67 billion) with non-EU countries. Additionally, the share of the UK’s exports going to the EU has been consistently falling over the last number of years. Foreign direct investment flows between the two entities have also been drastically reduced.

However, the UK and EU trade relationship is still highly intertwined and significant. Not only are the two connected through intangible flows but physically as well via pipelines, transport highways, and cables. In a typical year, 210 million passengers and 230 million tonnes of cargo are transported between the two entities.

The TCA will help to regulate these flows and continue a sense of status quo, however, it’s worth noting that if EU regulations are not met, tariffs could be imposed.

The Economist Intelligence Unit recently determined risk and resilience factors for different UK industries based on the agreement. The report found that the food & agriculture, automotive, and financial services industries are most at risk, due to interconnected supply chains and the risk of tariffs being imposed. The life sciences and tech industries stand to do the best.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement

Overall, Brexit has had significant ramifications for all nations involved. Ireland, for example, is now geographically cut off from the EU, creating potential obstacles for both the movement of people and goods.

Now, after years of discussions, the UK and the EU have finally agreed to the terms for their new relationship, with a focus on sustainable trade, citizens’ security, and governance for long-standing cooperation, in order to guarantee a level playing field. The TCA has helped ease the transition, and while they’re no longer in a union, the UK and the EU have created a strong base for trade to continue normally.

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Money

Mapped: The Wealthiest Billionaire in Each U.S. State in 2021

Alongside Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, who are the richest people in the U.S.? This map reveals the wealthiest billionaire in each U.S. state.

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Mapping the Wealthiest Billionaires in Each U.S. State

It is a testament to the burgeoning wealth of the U.S. that there is a billionaire in nearly every U.S. state. The country is home to around 800 billionaires among its 330 million people.

This map from HowMuch.Net reveals the wealthiest billionaire in each U.S. state.

The Richest of the Rich

Billionaires are a constant across the United States. The only states that don’t house one of these high-net-worth individuals are: Alabama, New Mexico, North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Delaware.

Here’s a further breakdown that shows the wealthiest billionaire in each U.S. state:

BillionaireNet Worth (Billions) State
Jeff Bezos$193.8Washington
Elon Musk$191.8Texas
Mark Zuckerberg $101.3California
Warren Buffet $87.6Nebraska
Jim Walton$67.5Arkansas
Michael Bloomberg$54.9New York
Phil Knight and Family $51.7Oregon
Daniel Gilbert $45.5Michigan
Charles Koch$44.9Kansas
John Mars$29.8Wyoming
Jacqueline Mars$28.9Virginia
Thomas Peterffy$22.9Florida
Pierre Omidyar$22.3Hawaii
Ernest Garcia II$18Arizona
Ray Dalio$16.9Connecticut
Ken Griffin$15Illinois
Abigail Johnson$15Massachusetts
Thomas First Jr. and Family$14.4Tennessee
John Menard Jr.$14.2Wisconsin
David Duffield$13.7Nevada
Carl Cook$10.5Indiana
Philip Anschutz$10.1Colorado
Tom and Judy Love$8.2Oklahoma
Jim Kennedy$8.2Georgia
Victoria Mars$7.2Pennsylvania
Rocco Commisso$6.9New Jersey
James Goodnight$6.5North Carolina
Mitchell Rales$6.5Maryland
Dennis Washington$6.2Montana
Les Wexner and Family$5.6Ohio
Harry Stine$5.4Iowa
Tamara Gustavson$5.3Kentucky
Pauline Macmillan Keinath$4.9Missouri
Frank VanderSloot$3.5Idaho
Gayle Benson$3.3Louisiana
Glen Taylor$2.5Minnesota
Jonathan Nelson$2Rhode Island
Anita Zucker$1.9South Carolina
Gail Miller$1.9 Utah
Susan Alfond$1.9Maine
T. Denny Sanford$1.6South Dakota
James Duff$1.4Mississippi
Jim Justice$1.2West Virginia

Among the richest of the rich in the U.S., most are men, but there are 10 female billionaires who are the wealthiest in their respective states.

Jeff Bezos is worth an astounding $193.8 billion. Amazon became increasingly successful during the pandemic, as lockdown orders caused many people to have to stay home and shop online rather than in stores.

The runner up, Elon Musk, is worth $191.8 billion. The recent boom in Elon Musk’s net worth was due to the sharp rise in Tesla’s share prices. Recently, Elon Musk shifted his residence to the state of Texas, a move which is indicative of a larger trend of internal migration away from America’s most pricey urban areas.

Mind the Gap

Many of these individuals have actually become more wealthy during the COVID-19 pandemic, widening the existing gap of wealth inequality within the country.

Together Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet (the five richest American billionaires) experienced a collective 85% increase in their wealth since the pandemic took hold. This equates to an added $303 billion in wealth.

In contrast, the median wealth of American households is about $121,700, and due to COVID-19, there has been a rising inability to cover bills and a risk of mass home loss in the country.

Overall, while we rely on companies like Amazon for our socially-distanced shopping and Facebook to keep us connected during the pandemic, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg will likely continue to accrue immense fortunes. The wealthiest billionaires in the U.S. are likely to continue growing their net worth, pandemic or not, and have been consistently outpacing the lower to upper-middle income groups.

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