Institute on Assets and Social Policy

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Racial Inequality and Mobility

Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Project 

The Great Recession heightened our understanding of the fundamental way in which private financial assets are needed in times of crisis, both to cushion shocks and to provide opportunities for future economic mobility. It also exposed the broadening and intensifying fragility of economic security for low-and moderate-income households, particularly households of color. IASP’s research shows that historic levels of wealth inequality are taking place alongside greater economic insecurity. Wealth loss and inequality impacts nearly all American households, its consequences are however much more profound for people of color. The dramatic gap in household wealth that now exists along racial lines in the United States reflects policies and institutional practices that create different opportunities for whites and African-Americans. Personal ambition and behavioral choices are but a small part of the equation. Learn more about the Racial Wealth Gap Project.

Racial Wealth AuditTM

IASP research has notably revealed the importance of policy as the biggest drivers of widening wealth inequalities by race, highlighting that policy can also both exacerbate and combat wealth disparities (Shapiro, Meschede et al. 2013), even when these policies did not have explicit intentions to impact wealth inequality by race. Given the value of bringing a racial wealth analysis frame to policy deliberations, the Racial Wealth Audit™ is a new framework and empirical tool that assesses policies on disparities in wealth by race. This tool facilitates constituency, organizational, advocate, and policymaker equity-based engagement in the policy process and public debate. Learn more about the Racial Wealth AuditTM.

The Leveraging Mobility Series

Drawing on a unique dataset of longitudinal interviews conducted twelve years apart, families with children in three major cities across the nation were asked about their assets, wealth, income,economic security and life aspirations. The Leveraging Mobility series examines how working and middle-class families use assets to advance security and mobility or struggle to gain ground in the absence of assets. How families are faring within this changed national landscape while raising children provides some surprising insights. Learn more about the Leveraging Mobility series.

Wealth Patterns Among the Top 5% of African Americans

Sponsored by Credit Suisse's New Markets Business, IASP examined the wealth patterns among the top 5% of African Americans.  This comprehensive study looked at wealth creation and wealth management among the nation's wealthiest African Americans.  Click to read more.

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