Healthy US economy failed to narrow racial gaps in 2019

WASHINGTON — The solid growth that the United States enjoyed before the viral pandemic paralyzed the economy this spring failed to reduce racial disparities in Americans’ income and wealth from 2016 through 2019, the Federal Reserve said today.

Though Black and Hispanic households reported sharper gains in wealth than white households did, those increases weren’t enough to much narrow the racial gaps. The typical White family possessed eight times the wealth of Black families and five times the wealth of Hispanic families, the Fed said.

The Fed’s Survey of Consumer Finances, released every three years, analyzed incomes and wealth for the three years ended in 2019. The survey found that income for the typical U.S. family rose 5%, adjusted for inflation, from 2016 to 2019 to $58,600. That was weaker than the 9% income gain the typical family received from 2013 through 2016.