The color of debt

Here’s a devastating new investigation of the disparities in debt collection in the US.

By any measure, black households are worse off financially than white ones. They make, on average, far less money. But more pernicious is the vastly larger gap in wealth between whites and blacks — a divide that is wider than it was 30 years ago.

The source of this disparity is as deep as the nation’s history, said William A. Darity Jr., a professor of economics and public policy at Duke University. And addressing it is not as straightforward as improving employment or education among blacks.

It stems largely from “differences in the capacity of one generation of parents to transfer their resources to the next,” Darity said. “And those differences are strongly associated with race.”