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Unjust Public Policies Drive the Massive Racial Wealth Gap in America: Study

The yawning racial wealth gap in the United States is no accident, but rather, driven by unjust public policy decisions—from the re-segregation of education to the redlining of home ownership to poverty wages, according to a new analysis by Brandeis University and the public policy organization Demos.

Inequalities are vast, note the researchers. For example, Census data shows that, in 2011, median white households in the U.S. held $111,146 in wealth, compared to a mere $7,113 for Black homes and $8,348 for Latino ones.

These disparities emerge from historical choices on the political and policy levels, the researchers note.

“The racial wealth gap is large because we instituted it in public policy historically and continue to make public policies that exacerbate the problems,” said report coauthor Catherine Ruetschlin, a senior policy analyst at Demos, in a press statement. Therefore, it is vital “to find new opportunities to address the way that we’re constantly perpetuating this disparity between black, white and Latino families,” Ruetschlin continued.

Researchers offer a series of solutions aimed at reversing these trends, from equalizing home ownership to racially integrating schools at all levels. In addition, the study calls for a significant boost to the minimum wage, as well as “making it easier for workers to form and join unions.”

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