New Boston Fed report finds large disparities in assets and debts among subpopulations in the greater Boston area


Source: Boston Federal Reserve Bank
(BOSTON, MA – March 26, 2015) In a new analysis of the economic well-being of several specific racial and ethnic groups by country of origin, a Boston Fed report
finds large disparities in wealth by race and ethnicity for the Boston metropolitan statistical area. The Color of Wealth in Boston report, released as part of a partnership between the Boston Fed, the Ford Foundation, and the Duke University’s Consortium on Social Equity, is part of the National Asset Scorecard in Communities of Color (NASCC) initiative—a pilot survey conducted in targeted metropolitan areas to gain insights about the asset and debt positions of different
racial and ethnic groups.

The Color of Wealth in Boston provides an analysis of assets and debts focused on whites and nonwhites including U.S. born blacks, Caribbean blacks, Cape Verdeans, Puerto Ricans, and Dominicans, a detailed demographic breakdown that is not available in other surveys of income and wealth.

“The wide racial wealth gap we see in Boston is a worrisome sign that many families do not have sufficient assets to offer better opportunities for future generations,” said Ana Patricia Muñoz, Director of Community Development Research at the Boston Fed and the  project manager of the Boston NASCC research effort. 

“We are releasing The Color of Wealth in Boston with the goal of encouraging discussions around potential changes in policy and practice at the state and local level that can help tackle the wealth gap, shown to be divergent between whites and nonwhites.”

At the release of The Color of Wealth in Boston report on Thursday, a panel of practitioners, funders, and policymakers reacted  to the report’s findings. They discussed how a multidimensional and cross-sectorial approach could help address wealth and income inequality at both the municipal and state levels. 

The panel included Massachusetts State Sen. James Eldridge; John Barros, City of Boston Chief of Economic Development; Angela Brown, Director of Programs at the Hyams Foundation; and Tom Shapiro, Director of the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University.

The release of this report builds on the Boston Fed’s longstanding concern with the economic well-being of all Americans by providing aggregate data on the assets and debts of communities of color, and encouraging a policy discussion around potential solutions.

About the National Asset Scorecard in Communities of Color (NASCC)

The NASCC initiative has involved the design and implementation of a survey in targeted metropolitan areas (Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, Tulsa, and Washington, D.C.) to gain insights about the asset and debt positions of racial and ethnic groups at the detailed country-of-origin level. The survey also ascertains unconventional financial information, such as families’ use of payday lending and remittances. The NASCC principal investigators are William Darity Jr. (Duke University) and Darrick Hamilton (The New School).