Lewis Diuguid

Asian-Americans narrow wealth gap, new study shows

With more information like a new Federal Reserve study, the thought of money being flushed down the toilet will seem less and less likely.
With more information like a new Federal Reserve study, the thought of money being flushed down the toilet will seem less and less likely. .

Asian-Americans are making great progress in closing the wealth gap in the United States, according to a newly released study.

Unlike with other minority groups, the Asian-white wealth gap is closing, a Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis reports. “The Demographics of Wealth: How Age, Education and Race Separate Thrivers from Strugglers in Today’s Economy” is the first in a series of reports on how race, education and age affect a family’s ability to make it financially.

The report says that median wealth for a white family in 1989 was $130,102, and that rose to $134,008 in 2013. It was $64,165 for an Asian family in 1989 and $91,440 in 2013. The report notes that Asians median wealth is set to surpass that of whites in the coming years because of an increase in educational attainment by Asians in recent decades. The median income for Asians already has surpassed white median income.

Other minority groups have not been so fortunate, notes the report, which used information from more than 40,000 families surveyed from 1989 to 2013. Median black and Hispanic wealth was about 90 percent lower than the median white wealth level. For Latino families it was $9,229 in 1989 and $13,900 in 2013. For black families it was $7,736 in 1989 and $11,184 in 2013. Median black and Hispanic income levels were about 40 percent lower.

“The larger wealth gap could be due to Hispanics’ and blacks’ investing in low-return assets like housing as well as to borrowing at high interest rates,” the report says.

The goal of the reports is to give people and policymakers more information to “improve the financial health of all American families and of the nation as a whole.”

We can only hope.

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