A study released last week by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) showed that the average Black family in the US would need 228 years to build the wealth of a white family today. An article detailing the study was published in The Nation. The two think tanks looked at household wealth data covering a 30 year period, from 1983 to 2013, and recognized some disturbing trends. The data showed that the average wealth of white households increased by 84 percent during those three decades, three times the gains African-American families saw and 1.2 times the rate of growth for Latino families. In South Carolina, the median net worth of White households is $133,683, while the median net worth of Black households is $14,413.
A complete story on the Racial Wealth Gap can be found at https://www.thenation.com/article/the-average-black-family-would-need-228-years-to-build-the-wealth-of-a-white-family-today/.
One of the most effective wealth-building programs in South Carolina is the Individual Development Account (IDA) program designed to incentivize individuals to save their earned income in a dedicated account and commit those funds to acquiring an accruing asset. The recognized assets include purchasing a home, starting a small business or furthering education. Individuals who commit to securing one of these three assets will have their savings matched 3:1 up to the first $1,000 the individual saves. Over the 16 years of the program’s operations, over $15 million in assets have been acquired. Similarly, the Racial Wealth Gap study recommends a number of federal policy recommendations to include giving every baby born in the United States a savings account with a modest sum, and then using public funds to match what low-income households are able to save. When a young person hits 18, the accounts could then be used to help finance a college education, or to buy a first home or start a new business. Any remaining funds would be dedicated to retirement.
These and other wealth building strategies will be highlighted at SCACED's 2016 South Carolina Community Economic Development Conference, Opportunity SC, which will take place September 14-16, 2016, at the Embassy Suites Greenville Resort. Persons interested in attending can register at www.OpportunitySC.org or can call the SCACED Offices at (843) 579-9855.