Two Studies on Disparities: The Most Unequal U.S. Cities and Boston’s Racial Wealth Gap

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Inequality in Boston
Marcio Jose Bastos Silva /

March 26, 2015; Boston Globe

A new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston addresses “The Color of Wealth in Boston” and its findings are shocking. Below is one of the main findings:

“Nonwhite households have only a fraction of the net worth attributed to white households. While white households have a median wealth of $247,500, Dominicans and U.S. blacks have a median wealth of close to zero. Of all nonwhite groups for which estimates could be made, Caribbean black households have the highest median wealth with $12,000, which is only 5 percent of the wealth attributed to white households in the Boston [Metropolitan Statistical Area].”

The study was based on an in-depth survey administered to 403 households in the Boston metro area. The report goes into some detail about types of assets and liabilities by racial groups, pointing out the historical context of wealth disparities as well as the impact that such disparities will have on the future of the city

Another recent study, this one from the Brookings Institution, indicates that Boston is third in the list of cities with the highest level of income inequality, after Atlanta and San Francisco. The following charts show the most equal and unequal cities in the country:


—Ruth McCambridge