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Study: Blacks and Whites With Same Education Have Similar Incomes

But whites remain well ahead in savings and home equity; Hispanics lag in most categories

Dollars are on the table

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En español | A Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) study finds that when comparing annual income levels among adults age 65-plus with the same level of education, there's a much narrower gap between whites and Blacks than between the two groups when education is not factored in. But older Hispanics lag well behind both older whites and older Blacks in income at all education levels.

When it comes to savings and home equity, whites remain significantly better off than both Hispanics and Blacks across all education levels.

Among the KFF findings:

  • Overall median income for older whites is about 1.5 times the level for Blacks and twice as high as for Hispanics.
  • White and Black college graduates over age 65 have similar annual income levels ($57,307 and $55,158 respectively), while the figure for older Hispanic college graduates was more than a third less ($35,732).
  • For those 65 and older with less than a high school education, median annual incomes range from $18,812 for whites to $16,057 for Blacks to $11,364 for Hispanics.
  • For those with a college degree, median savings for older whites is $344,553, or significantly more than that of Blacks ($91,566) and Hispanics ($78,303). For those without a high school degree, the rates are $10,174 for whites, $1,904 for Hispanics and just $2 for Blacks.
  • The median home equity for older whites with a college degree is $156,314, while just $93,125 for Blacks and $75,167 for Hispanics with a similar educational background. At the lower end of the education spectrum, whites without a high school education enjoy home equity of $42,094, while lesser-educated Blacks have zero home equity and Hispanics have about $684 invested in their homes.

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KFF said that the findings reflect “the long-lasting effects of discriminatory practices and policies that have not only hindered the accumulation of wealth among people of color, but contribute to the persistence of inequality across generations today. As a result, older Black and Hispanic adults have fewer savings or other resources than older white adults to absorb unanticipated medical expenses or other financial shocks, including the economic impact of the pandemic on their families."