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White Americans’ Hold on Wealth Is Old, Deep, and Nearly Unshakeable

White families quickly recuperated financial losses after the Civil War, and then created a Jim Crow credit system to bring more white families into money.
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Patrick Semansky/AP

It will end up costing the U.S. economy as much as $1 trillion between now and 2028 for the nation to maintain its longstanding black-white racial wealth gap, according to a report released this month from the global consultancy firm McKinsey & Company. That will be roughly 4 percent of the United States GDP in 2028—just the conservative view, assuming that the wealth growth rates of African Americans will outpace white wealth growth at its current clip of 3 percent to .8 percent annually, said McKinsey. If the gap widens, however, with white wealth growing at a faster rate than black wealth instead, it could end up costing the U.S. $1.5 trillion or 6 percent of GDP according to the firm.

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