Inequality.org

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Institute for Policy Studies

Wealth of 400 Billionaires = Wealth of All 41 Million African-Americans

The Dizzying Racial Wealth Divide

MLKs Nightmare

The billionaires that make up the “Forbes 400” list have as much wealth as the entire African-American population of the U.S., over 41 million people, according to a new analysis by Bob Lord of the Institute for Policy Studies. Lord calls it “Dr. King’s Nightmare.”

In the aftermath of the 2008 economic meltdown, wealth owned by households of color declined dramatically, as home values collapsed. The wealth of the richest 1 percent also declined in 2009, but rebounded quickly in subsequent years.

As Bob Lord writes in Other Words, “The net worth of just 400 billionaires, a group that could fit into a high school gym, is on par with the collective wealth of more than 14 million African- American households. Both groups possess some $2 trillion, about three percent of our national net worth of $77 trillion.”

The only U.S. African-American on the Forbes 400 list is Oprah Winfrey, who has a net worth of $2.9 billion, placing her 184th on the list. She is one of 7 Black billionaires in the whole world.

The U.S. has a persistent racial wealth divide, rooted in the legacy of discrimination in asset building, starting with slavery up to present day discrimination in mortgage lending.  The homeownership rate for whites is 73.3 percent, 43.1 percent for African-Americans, and 47.6 percent for Latinos.

But present-day inequality is the poisonous result of eroding net worth among African-American and Latino households and an exploding concentration of wealth in the top 1 percent, and within that, among the richest 400 billionaires.  The average net worth of the Forbes 400 richest rose $800 million to a record $5 billion in the last year.

African-Americans make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, but have only 2.7 percent of total wealth.  The median wealth for an African American household, according to a 2010 survey, is $4,900; for whites, it is $97,000.

If current trends continue, the Forbes 400 will soon have as much wealth as the entire Latino population of over 53 million people, 17 percent of the U.S. population.

  • cyncobalt

    And the wealth gap has increased under Pres. Obama, as well as the unemployment rate of African Americans. So who are you blaming?

    • Sierra

      Just because the President is Black doesn’t mean he doesn’t engage in anti-black policies.

      • Blake

        obama is the worse president in history

    • http://www.youthfulfiftyfive.jeunesseglobal.com/ njciticoutur

      I am sure these people didn’t become billionaires by working on a JOB………… LOL

    • MindFire

      Slavery.

  • Chaddington

    41 million African Americans have the same wealth (2trillion) as 1.2 billion Indians (GDP 2 trillion). What’s your point?

    • Blake

      the majority of black wealth is actually tax payer money since they are freeloaders

      • Cucksmasher_14

        I would venture to guess that the overwhelming majority of the freeloader blacks have essentially zero wealth to speak of

      • Debbie Cosgrove

        You are an idiot ..and a troll ..the facts dont support your claim moron. They earn less ..they are harassed by police more ..incarcerated more ..but they certainly dont work any less ..and you sure dont work any harder ..now go lie to one of your rednecked trailer park Red State buddies who will talk about blacks while hes cashing a welfare check and taking his gf and their three babies to pick up their WIC Checks . ..Idiot

        • Blake

          ah yes, poor black people, if only they worked hard, stayed in school and got a job.

          • BlackWealth

            Blake, you cannot place ALL Blacks in the same category. There are more white welfare recipients than black. Speak from statistics and not stereotyped hatred. There are plenty of hard working black people who pay just as much in taxes as whites and I happen to be one of them.

          • Blake

            Actually 33.4 percent of welfare recipients are black while only 32 percent are white. Also,blacks make up only 13 percent of the population so their per capita welfare use is much higher. If/when you get to university take a basics economics course please

          • http://www.imagesofleon.com Artist Rodney Shaddai Leon

            You need to measure the actual numbers in such a comparison since White women get more in cash and benefits than Black women and are a MUCH larger overall population in general.

          • Blake

            Blacks and whites get equal percentage of welfare yet blacks are a much lower portion of the population meaning they are many times more likely to be on welfare than whites. You clearly are not that smart if you can’t even understand a basic concept like math

          • Blake

            Also I never said all blacks were lazy free loading criminals,just a very large number. But you’ll find a way to blame whites for their failures

  • Intaglio Oglothorpe

    The richest person in Africa is black and the current richest man in the world is a Mexican. Sounds racist to me.

  • Rupert_Murdoch68

    I don’t know what this jacka$$’s point is but to demean minorities because:

    Those same 400 Americans have more wealth than half of ALL Americans combined.
    “Let me say that again. 400 obscenely wealthy individuals, little
    Mubaraks, who have benefited in some way from the multitrillion dollar
    taxpayer bailout of 2008, now have more cash, stock and property than the combined assets of 155 million Americans, not just the 41 million Afro-Americans. So Collins, you racist piece of crap, take your column and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine, and take your family with you.

  • Intaglio Oglothorpe

    The top 1%:
    America’s richest Indian tribe has 99.2 per cent unemployment — and it’s all voluntary, tribal leaders boast. There’s little need for any member of theShakopee Mdewakanton Tribe to work. Each adult in the 460-person American Indian nation receives more than $1million a year – for doing nothing.
    And I believe that rather than reparations tax policies should let them keep and spend every dime of that. Blacks should learn how to run a casino.

    • Cucksmasher_14

      Funny how the Daily Mail (in the UK) did the most in-depth reporting on this story.
      Funny how no one talks about Red Skin Privilege. The native aboriginals were here 10,000 years and they never figured out an igneous way to make wealth before Whites arrived and conquered the land.

  • Orlando coombs

    1percent of the population controls 96 percent of the wealth. That’s the real wealth gap. And its centuries in the making. Even most whites won’t unlock that wealth. Just get ya own wealth and it’s all good.

  • g2879

    The country needs ditch diggers too

  • coach.dreed@gmail.com

    you could easily find 41 million white people that have less net worth than the 400 billionaires, and could probably pick a different 41 million whites and come up with same equation, and then do it again. that time of wealth is rare. but everyone in america has an equal opportunity to go get their’s. its up to the individual, you can get a 1000 and spend it on a new cell phone , a pair of jordans, or you can use to put yourself in a better position its up to you, you have to start somewhere and quit blaming others for them having more.

    • Debbie Cosgrove

      Coach ..please tell me what fantasy land you live in ..because it isn’t the United States of America …WEALTH INEQUALITY HAS NEVER BEEN GREATER SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION ..all that opportunity of which you speak died under the weight of Corporate Republican GREED , they passed laws making it much harder for anyone to climb out of poverty ..because that would make their paycheck a little smaller ..they want it all ..and youre stupid enough to advocate for the poor rich guys who stole most of America’s opportunity .and are now working toward stealing the rest through privatization of Social Security and Medicare ..lol ..arent you a smart white supremacist ? ..Its your Red State rednecks who will finish off your red states ..and all your people along with it ..welcome to the Third World you beg for everytime you vote for Greed and Race ! You earned it !

      • wakeupu

        It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.

        Thomas Sowell
        Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/t/thomas_sowell.html#IKmfTsfOthE8Lj2r.99

        • Michael Williams

          Calling names never helped either bud. The fact is choice, what’s the best choice to make with the decked stacked against you. Sure 400 years of Slavery allowed every other race to evolve and flourish, but I agree for far too many this is a cope out to continue to fail. Blacks do not want to invest in themselves or support successful Blacks, generally speaking and that’s just part of the root. While the US of A government went to great lengths to screw over Blacks in every unimaginable way excluding Slavery, it is admittedly sad to say there damn sure haven’t been enough Blacks to rebuild any community, help their neighbor, respect their self or learn to lead instead of just being a follower. If you’re not investing in your own then why B&M when nobody else does.

  • Gordon

    Your an idiot Chuck! What a lame comparison! Everything is racism! How easy it must be to get a job as a “Journalist”. I actually work for a living.

  • Apolo Kaggwa.

    Don’t forget that the Forbes 400 would not have been possible without the free labour of African slaves. Slavery was abolished by President Lincoln in 1863, but was followed by racial discrimination until recently, which means that African-Americans have not had enough time to accumulate wealth in the last 300 years, but that will change once they have enough capital to run their own companies like the Forbes 400 do today.

    • Blake

      get over it, blacks have every opportunity today, stop quoting garbage from 100’s of years ago that has no relevance today. had there never been slavery, blacks would still be poor because they are lazy, stupid and violent; like monkeys

      • Apolo Kaggwa

        Blaming the victim is easier than facing the consequences of one’s actions. Whether you like it or not, it is a fact that 300 years of free labour was a shot in the arm for this country, without which America might not have made the same progress from an agrarian society to an 18 trillion dollar economy it is today.
        Moreover, years of Jim Crow and institutionalized racial discrimination of the descendants of the African slaves here, cannot be ignored the put it mildly. If African-Americans had arrived here in a 707 Jet, with college expenses paid and had been put up in a brand new dormitory, and told that they are free to work for wages and do as they pleased, like I was, their lot would have been very different from what it is today.
        You need to understand that an enslaved body is an enslaved mind and that subjecting a human being to the horrors of racial discrimination and being denied the right to life itself have left permanent scars on the African-American psyche which cannot be simply waved aside by the adjectives you have presented here about them. Nor can they be erased in a few years of freedom since 1863, they have so far enjoyed in their country. It is absurd that instead of working to help them overcome the disadvantages that have been imposed upon them against their will, people like you have decided to wallow in the dark, groping for any strap to justify the harm inflicted on a people by your ancestors.

        • Blake

          seriously get over it. if anyone has the right to complain it’s the Jews. they were almost exterminated. do you hear them bitching and whining like the stupid niggers? no… Jewish people are very successful because they are responsible and take care of themselves and focus on family and education. niggers could learn a lot from the jews.

          • Apolo Kaggwa

            I am expecting you to argue that 300 years of free labour enjoyed by this country, has not contributed to the prosperity of America we see today. I am not here to compare African-Americans and Jews. My argument is that without the free labour of African slaves, America, including the Forbes 400, might not have made the same progress from an agrarian society to the prosperity enjoyed today. Unfortunately, instead of sticking to the topic at hand, you have decided to introduce issues that are irrelevant to what we are discussing. Do you have anything in your bag to contribute to the argument or not? If you do then you need to prove me wrong with facts and figures.

          • Blake

            you are aware that blacks started the slave trade right? it wasn’t just evil whitey. What i am saying is, slavery is done, finished, over. Blacks need to stop usiong that as an excuse as to why many blacks are criminals, lazy, drop out of high school, abandon their children etc. many other people were also slaves besides blacks, chinese were also. do you hear them complaining, rioting and looting? no. they are busy going to university and becoming doctors while blacks wait in line at the welfare office. democrats keep blacks down by making them dependent on the government.

          • Apolo Kaggwa

            I am not here to blame anybody for the American slavery nor am I brushing aside its permanent and lingering effect on the African-American. I am not here to compare them with anybody else either. Rather, I am simply stating an economic fact that America has benefited from the 300 years of free labour by African slaves and that it is a fact that cannot be overlooked when considering American prosperity today, including the Forbes 400. That is my argument. Again, I challenge you to prove me wrong with facts and figures.

          • Blake

            you can make up all the excuses in the world as to why blacks are lazy, uneducated and criminals. fact of the matter is the reason why these things are so is because of poor family structure. how long are blacks going to use the slavery excuse to justify their poor contribution to society? 100 years? 200 years? forever? there comes a time when people must just get over their past, take responsibility for themselves and get a good education. next you will say something stupid like “white privilege.” Asians in america make more money on average than whites, is there an “asian privilege” also? Also blacks are the most racist, hate filled people i have ever seen. they have whites because of the past, which i get, but to call whites racist when in fact the blacks are more racist is just stupid.

          • Apolo Kaggwa

            I am not in the habit of calling people names, nor am I going to join you in making accusations and excuses. I will not compare different segments of American society either. My argument is in plain English that America, including the Forbes 400, has benefited from the 300 years of free labour by African slaves, and that it is an economic fact that cannot be disregarded and must be taken into account when considering the prosperity enjoyed by this country today. That is my argument. This is the fourth time I am challenging you to come up with facts and figures to prove me wrong. I am still waiting.

          • Blake

            if we didn’t have slaves doing your so called “free labour” someone else would have done it.

          • Apolo Kaggwa

            It is not the “so called free labour” because it is an economic fact. Whether someone else could have done it is not the issue. The issue is that this country has benefited from 300 years of free labour by African slaves. That is my argument. You may disprove it with facts and figures if you can.

          • Blake

            300 years? so america became a country in 1767, technically your 300 years is still going considering america isn’t even 300 years old. you are saying slavery still exists in america?

          • Apolo Kaggwa

            American slavery began in the late 16th century, long before the 13 American colonies declared their independence in 1776. If slavery had not been abolished by President Lincoln in 1863, I would still be a slave today, working for no wages on a plantation somewhere in the south of this country. Let me remind you that today slavery is illegal in the United States of America.

          • Blake

            my goodness you are an idiot. nobody is denying that america benefited from free labour from blacks and other slaves (obviously they benefited.) This is 2015, get over slavery, get an education, get a job and stop bitching and complaining about injustices from over 100 years ago.

          • Apolo Kaggwa

            “Nobody is denying that america benefited from free labour from blacks and other slaves ( obviously they benefited )” That is the issue and line of my argument. So, the prosperity you see in America today, including the Forbes 400, is a culmination of centuries of toil and sacrifice from way back in precolonial times up till today, by all Americans, including the African slaves who laboured here for no wages for 300 years. Now that the descendants of the African slaves have been invited to the table to participate in this economy, they will be accumulating wealth by acquiring capital and running their own companies as the Forbes 400 do today.

          • Blake

            you are missing my point. blacks are not accumulating wealth, well some may be but a large portion of their population is uneducated, drops out of high school, lives a life of crime, has poor family structure. This has nothing to do with slavery, slavery has been abolished over 100 years ago. These effects are because of black culture and poor family structure. anyone and everyone, blacks included, from good families tend to be more successful and life. anyone and everyone, blacks included, from bad families tend to be less successful and black families tend to more often than other races be not good.

          • Apolo Kaggwa.

            I don’t know your source of information, but according to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, well-educated Americans earn more income than others who are not. Not only that, the educated also make up most of the middle class, who are most likely than any other segment of the population, to become investors thereby acquiring assets and accumulating wealth as a result.

            In 1860 there were no black Americans in the middle class anywhere in this country. In fact by 1960, only 3% of black Americans had a college degree, yet by 2006, 20% of them had a bachelor’s degree; an increase of 4% in just 46 years, compared to o% increase for centuries before. Furthermore in 2010, the U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics reported that of the 14.7 million U.S black households, 38% of them were in the middle class earning between $35,000 and $100,000 a year.

            Since the most common source of financing of new companies in this country are the business owners themselves, according to the Gallup-Wells Fargo Small Business Survey in March 2014, it is obvious that blacks acquiring capital at a significant rate since the 60s, when Jim Crow laws and racial discrimination, which had stymied their progress were rolled back as matter of public policy, will in increasing and significant numbers, be capable of investing their earned income in their own businesses, and deploying their assets to accumulate wealth as the Forbes 400 do today.

          • http://www.imagesofleon.com Artist Rodney Shaddai Leon

            Youre ignoring institutions and policies that block progress and things lke police shooting unarmed Black people for sport on the order of over 1500 in 2015. You shrug that off.

          • Blake

            Oh come on. Police shoot blacks for sport? You are as dumb as blm. What blocks progress for blacks is their culture which makes blacks want to live the gangster life and no father’s at home

          • Sierra

            Blake you are hilarious. God bless your heart. Seriously though your bigotry is unfortunate. I’m black but I’m not on government aid, as a matter of fact I issue out food stamp benefits to poor whites Monday through Friday. If you want blacks to stop complaining you have to realize that there are blacks out there that do work, are educated and are on the other side of window in the welfare office issuing out benefits instead of receiving them.

          • Blake

            lol thanks for that laugh Sierra. As a black woman you know what i have said is true. and 33% of welfare recipients are black yet only 12% of the population.

          • Sierra

            I’m not sure that it is true. It depends on what you define as “welfare.” is it only food stamps? Is it Medi caid? Is it pell grants? is it subsidies? Is it social security? Is it unemployment benefits? What is welfare? And what programs are you describing? What statistics snd sources are you citing? This…I would need to know before I could agree or disagree with what you said. However, even if what you stated was true. It does not mean that there are more blacks on welfare numerically. It would mean that proportionately there are more blacks on welfare, and I’m not sure if you understand the difference.

          • http://www.imagesofleon.com Artist Rodney Shaddai Leon

            Slavery officially began in 1619.

          • Blake

            So there were no slaves before 1619? Good to know

          • http://www.imagesofleon.com Artist Rodney Shaddai Leon

            Of course it does. Look at the prison system and ICOR. Slave wages for labor and productivity on the order of 5 – 16 cents a day.

          • Blake

            If blacks would stop shooting and robbing everyone,stop abandoning their many many kids,stop blaming me for your failures, stay in school and get an education they’ll be successful

          • wakeupu

            free labour ????? food-meds-roof over head……free labor??

          • Apolo Kaggwa

            Labour accompanied by wages and not welfare (food, housing, healthcare) is what we are discussing. It creates wealth, which can then be passed on to the next generation in any form: education, cash and property, to name just three of them.

            Did African slaves create any wealth working from sun up to sun down on those plantations in this country, for 300 years without any wages? Yes they did, but their wealth was then misappropriated by the slave owner, who then passed it on to the descendants who inherited the plantation. That is the huge gap in inequality seen today between the descendants of African slaves and the descendants of slave owners.

          • http://www.imagesofleon.com Artist Rodney Shaddai Leon

            Native Americans declined once they found out how harsh and brutal the treachery would be and just left. Thus Africa was turned to and people kidnapped so they couldn’t just leave since they had no idea or means to go home.

          • Blake

            Africa is a shithole

          • Debbie Cosgrove

            You are arguing with an angry white man who has failed to succeed in a society where he has been given every opportunity to do just that . He NEEDS to blame blacks for the disaster his life has become , because all the talk you hear from his type about personal responsibility is just that , Talk . They refuse to take any ..they only want to use the words to demean others who haven’t succeeded . Pointless ..you’re too intelligent and reasonable to converse with this trailer dwelling , burger flipping , racist .

          • Apolo Kaggwa

            Actually, he has acknowledged my argument. He could have done better by disproving it, a challenge he has so far failed to overcome. Thank you sweetheart.

          • James Snyder

            Blake you a dick

          • Blake

            sorry if the truth hurts bruh

      • Moses Snow White Leprosy

        You seem bitter because you share the same color as an albino with a small pinkish penis.

        • Blake

          good one… at the very least attempt to disprove what i said. don’t just partake in pathetic, liberal name calling.

      • jahson33

        Its true cave beast. Your wealth an all you talking about wouldnt even exist because white people are thr laziest people in mankind history an your fake ass american was never extended to black people you blew up every fucking community we ever built for ourselved independent of you. An now you all liberal or republican, rascist all serve the same purpose of support white supremacy. Rather you want to are not.Against black people oir women families an children. I tell you what JOIN THE WORLD COURTS. AN PAY OUR FOREFATHERS BLOOD AN SWEAT AN TEARS. An let us rebuild our motherland an in 50 yrs gaurantee . We will become the richest an cultural leaders of the world. Play game the game fair. It is easy to pick at the people in which you cheated in the beginning of the game. An still have not paid a dime for the worst holocaust in human history. GOD IS JUST AN LOOK AT THE CRUMBLING OF YOUR SYSTEM. YOU ALL HAVE BEEN TRICKED. THE BLACK PEOPLE OF AMERICA OR THE HEBREW CHILDREN THE BIBLE SPEAKS OF. AN YOU ALL LOVE TO HATE US. YET WITHOUT US YOU HAVE KNOW POWER. AN THE PLAGUES OF THE BIBLE IS UPON THIS COUNTRY AN BECAUSE YOUR HATE OF ME YE WILL NOT BE SAVED. PAY OUR REPATRIATIONS AN LET US GO MY FALSELY ACCUSED PRISONOR. AN THOSE THAT WILL LEAVE. AN BUILD FOR OUR PEOPLE JOBS FOR OUR PEOPLE. AN BLACK PEOPLE JOB LESS RATE IS SO HIGH BECAUSE REGULAR WHITE DONOT HIRE BLACK PEOPLE. WE QUALIFIED FOR THE POSITION. DEFINATELY WANT TRAIN. OUT THE QUESTION. YET YOU WILL DO ALL THAT AN SOME FOR THE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO KILL YOU. AN IT DAM SURE AINT BLACK PEOPLE.

      • Debbie Cosgrove

        Blake ..are you aware you have Neanderthal DNA ?..Making you much closer to a Monkey ..and certainly the “beneficiary ” of “animalistic” tendencies , as evidenced by your unwarranted hostility toward anything different from you , Xenophobia is unattractive btw. Now since we know your white ancestors were Trogolodyte and Neanderthal we will give you a break on that poor grammar and ignorance ..but please do take advantage of a University near you at your earliest convenience Sir , Thank You and Good Day . PS ..The DNA of every black person in the world is superior to yours..as they possess far more genetic diversity than the average white guy ..that means survival ..and in the Scientific World …that means SUPERIORITY …work through that ..wipe your eyes ..and get cracking on those books Sir ..its a shame when a man who has benefited from thousands of years of White Supremacy is still falling behind . Maybe that means you’re just lazy ? Hmm . LOL

        • Blake

          haha thanks, i needed that laugh.

  • Blake

    The reason there are not many black billionaires is because blacks are stupid and lazy. Just compare africa and Europe. Why is one so affluent and prosperous and the other is a garbage hole? is it a coincidence? is Europe older than africa? is there “white privilege” in Europe?

    • Debbie Cosgrove

      In a word ..yes ..there is White Privilege all over the world lol ..you really are a troll ..and poorly educated .

      • Blake

        haha white privilege, classic. Asians in america make more money on average than whites, is there an “asian privilege” also? white privilege means having 2 parents, working hard and getting a good education.

      • Kele

        I am not a racist, so it is hard to say but Blake is kind of right. The problem is not about racism, as the Americans, and other Western countries are the most tolerant people in the world. The success of Asian people is the best example that white privilege is used by blacks mainly to blame others for their problems. The biggest problem is with the black society and by that I mean black on black crime, high drop out rates and students lagging far behind.

        I went to a diverse American school (I’m Hungarian) for a year a few years ago, and the differences were pretty obvious: By far me and the other “immigrants” were the poorest in the school, but most of the blacks didn’t seem to care about studying at all. I was surprised because they had a lot more opportunity than I have in the kind of poor country Hungary.

        I don’t hate any people, but there are obviously a lot of black problems that can only be solved by African Americans.

  • FDRs Ghost

    US Gub’ment welfare policies, which majority of AfricAmers take advantage of, impede saving money and getting jobs. So of course those who choose welfare system instead if work, dont accumulate wealth.

  • FDRs Ghost

    The U S. Gubment (spoken with Jesse Jackson’s lisp) welfare policies, reward women for kicking the men out away from their children. Single parent familues dont save much money.

    • FDRs Ghost

      best way to increase Afric Amer. average wealth is eliminate all welfare programs. these programs dont allow more than $3000 in savings typically.

  • travis

    why is it always the government fault. i had a few friends that grew up in the projects. the ones that wanted to do something other then set around worked hard and got into collage. they made something of there lives. the ones that didnt just did not want to do it. i am not saying that white people or the government does not make it hard. how ever its still on the person

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  • pop

    ho

  • pop

    hihihihihihihihihihihih you suck sierra

  • James Snyder

    You fuckers are lazy thieves tjats why you went to africa and got us we just had no idea how satanicly diabolical you were .

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we need to remember, worried deeply about America's overall distribution of wealth and income.
Dr. King’s Nightmare: Our Top-Heavy America

A half-century since Dr. King's dream, we're living through a nightmare where America's 400 richest now hold as much wealth...

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