Summit To Examine America's Racial Wealth Gap And Children Of Color
WASHINGTON - Â With the United States projected to become a majority non-white nation by mid-century, prominent scholars, policy experts, advocates and members of Congress will take part in a policy summit on April 7 to assess the growing gap in wealth between white households and households of color with young children and the implications for children of color as they grow older and for the future U.S. economy.
A new research paper by Dr. Trina Shanks of the University of Michigan that looks at the effects of parental wealth on a child's cognitive development and health outcomes will be presented for the first time and provide the framework for discussions at the 2011 Color of Wealth Policy Summit sponsored by the Insight Center for Community Economic Development and several partner organizations.
Household wealth Â assets minus debts Â is important because it allows a family to weather a lost job or a health crisis, send a child to college or leave an inheritance. The average family of color owns just 16 cents of wealth to the average white family's dollar and recent research has shown that the wealth gap between white and African American families more than quadrupled from 1984 to 2007. Adding to the problem is the fact that the Great Recession has had a disproportionate effect on the wealth of communities of color, which have endured unemployment and foreclosures at rates far beyond those faced by white families.
These economic disparities and the country's changing demographics Â the United States is expected to become majority non-white in 2042 Â hold important implications for the nation's economic future.
"We must focus on the children of today, the 'Recession Generation,'" said Meizhu Lui, director of the Insight Center's Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative. "They bear the brunt of our economic troubles now, as their young lives are negatively affected by the declining economic fortunes of their households. They will be 50 years old in 2050 when our population undergoes a pivotal shift and will bear the responsibility for our nation's economic and social well-being at mid-century."
The Initiative and its Experts of Color Network will use the summit to unveil five policy recommendations to close the racial wealth gap by 2050 by making the U.S. economy more inclusive.
"The task is urgent," Lui said. "We must allow every child of every race and ethnicity to put their talents and energies to work to ensure American prosperity. The 21st century economy requires the inclusion of all our people."