When a Job Is Not Enough: The Latinx-White Wealth Gap

The report also finds that “protective factors” that increase economic mobility for populations—such as education, homeownership, income, and age—have been insufficient in closing the wealth gap between the Latinx and white populations.

When a Job Is Not Enough: The Latinx-White Wealth Gap

eople walk through a neighborhood in Queens, New York, on August 29, 2016 | Getty/Spencer Platt

Washington, D.C. —new CAP report by Danyelle Solomon and Christian E. Weller entitled “Why a Job Is Not Enough” looks at the persistent disparity between the earnings of Latinx and white households. The report finds that while Latinx workers are more likely to hold full-time jobs than white workers, their median wealth is only 14.6 percent of the typical white family’s wealth.

The report attributes this disparity to a variety of factors, including Latinx workers holding jobs with lower hourly pay and less access to benefits; greater financial demands on Latinx families; differences in home and business ownership; and the fact that Latinx people tend to hold costlier debt.

“Despite working more on average than whites, Latinx families have far less household wealth,” said Danyelle Solomon, senior director of Race and Ethnicity Policy at the Center for American Progress. “We must improve how Latinxs interact with the labor market if we want to start closing the wealth gap.”

The report also finds that “protective factors” that increase economic mobility for populations—such as education, homeownership, income, and age—have been insufficient in closing the wealth gap between the Latinx and white populations.

“Massive wealth inequality by race and ethnicity is a stark reminder that we are still not a country of equal opportunity,” said Christian E. Weller, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. “Systematic policy choices have created a large and persistent wealth gap, but that means that there are also deliberate policy solutions that lawmakers can take to reduce the racial wealth gap, such as supporting strong wages and benefits for workers, supporting union membership, and backing strong civil rights enforcement of the labor and housing markets.”

Solomon and Weller also find that there are a number of policy solutions that would help to close the gap. These include increases to wages and benefits; support for union membership; improved access to health care; strong civil rights enforcement against employment and housing discrimination; access to affordable housing and higher education; removal of language barriers in employment, housing, and education; and support for comprehensive immigration reform.

Related resources:

Systematic Inequality” by Angela Hanks, Danyelle Solomon, and Christian E. Weller

Wealth Inequality Among Asian Americans Greater Than Among Whites” by Christian E. Weller and Jeffrey Thompson