In a groundbreaking report released Monday by a leading economic research group, social scientists turned a spotlight on the financial challenges facing an often overlooked group of women, many of whom could not take an unpaid sick day or repair a major appliance without going into debt.
Among the most startling revelations in the wealth data is that while single white women in the prime of their working years (ages 36 to 49) have a median wealth of $42,600, the median wealth for single black women is only $5.
“The popular image is [black women] spend too much, which is the reason they are running up credit card and consumer debt, but the cost of living has risen faster than income, and they need to go into debt for basic daily necessities,” said Meizhu Lui, director of the Closing the Gap Initiative. “It’s compounded because unemployment is twice as high in the black community than it is in the white.”
For all working-age black women 18 to 64, the financial picture is bleak. Their median household wealth is only $100.
“That means half of [black women] have a net worth of more than $100 and half have a net worth of less than $100,” Ms. Lui said. “So that gives you an idea of how far in debt some women of color are.”
(Wealth, or net worth, measures the total of one’s assets — cash in the bank, stocks, bonds and real estate; minus debts — home mortgages, auto loans, credit cards and student loans.)
“There are excuses and circumstances that have evolved in society, which put black women where they are,” said Esther Bush, executive director of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh. The recession has hit single mothers especially hard.
In Pittsburgh and across the country, the financial burdens of single parenthood fall mostly on women, but black women are more likely to endure the work and responsibility of raising children on their own. They are more likely to be the backbone of their families and communities, with greater responsibilities to support struggling friends and families. READ MORE HERE!
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