Study after study shows that white families are more likely than blacks and Hispanics to enjoy certain economic advantages — even when their incomes are similar. Often it’s the subtle things: help from Mom and Dad with a down payment on a home or college tuition, or a tax break on money passed from one generation to the next.
Tom Shapiro of Brandeis University has tracked hundreds of families for almost 30 years and says the gap perpetuates itself.
“The larger the amount of financial wealth a family starts with, the more financial wealth it accumulated over that period of time,” he says.
In other words, it’s easier to get richer if you already are. Since blacks and Hispanics are less likely to have much wealth to begin with, they’re less likely to have money to invest in the stepping stones to success — a small business, college or home.