"There are those who say to you - we are rushing this issue of civil rights. I say we are 172 years late."

– Hubert Humphrey, 1948

Welcome to day 5

Topic: Income

Take a closer look at how racial wealth gaps in Greater Atlanta send the clear message that all communities are not equal. Then imagine yourself in the shoes of those most impacted by the inequitable systems in place and decide if you could thrive.

Reminder, no matter who you are or where you are on the journey, you will not be perfect. Try to digest the information slowly and go at your own pace. Allow time for reflection and avoid feeling pressured to tackle everything.

Error Message Received.

When we receive an error message on our phone or computer, we immediately know that an intervention is required. It indicates that some parts of the normal system have failed. Data about the racial wealth gap in Atlanta and across our country is a clear error message that our community is not creating equal opportunities for all. Children should not be locked into a particular income bracket because of their zip code or their race, which are primary predicators for their futures.

We can change that in Greater Atlanta, but we must understand the history and the system first.

Wealth is more than just jobs. It includes annual median income, homeownership, access to a college education, access to workplace or self-employment retirement plans, and more. On nearly every measure, local racial wealth disparities are evident. This is true for traditional economic measures like banking, housing, employment, and other measures that have a direct impact on the ability of individuals and families to earn good income, build wealth, and maintain a safe and stable roof over their heads.

Armed with a new way of using data, we have the power to be the architects of a brighter future for children and families across Greater Atlanta. We can be advocates, supporters and resources for systems that support racial economic equity.

Occupational integration since 1960 was responsible for 60 percent of real wage growth (after accounting for inflation) for black women, 40 percent for white women, and 45 percent for black men.

What does the data tell us?

Racial wealth gaps exist across the country.

How Policymakers Can Ensure the COVID-19 Pandemic Doesn’t Widen the Racial Wealth Gap | Urban Institute

Income gaps exist in across Atlanta. Look at the data from Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative.


Homeownership gaps exist across Atlanta and nationwide

SOURCE: Trulia, Refin – referenced in Atlanta and Black Wealth Success for Many but Not for All

The COVID pandemic is exacerbating racial inequities.
See the data

Challenge Menu

Six Policies to Reduce Economic Inequality

Following the Othering & Belonging Institute’s Inequality Policy Brief, Haas Institute Director John A. Powell shares six ways to minimize the rising economic inequality prevalent in the U.S. and discusses how these policies will work in slowing the growth in inequality.

United, We Can Help Families Reach Economic Stability.

United Way of Greater Atlanta offers examples of how the organization is working to create economic equity. Together, we can help families today, tomorrow and in the future achieve economic stability. To improve the living conditions of families is to improve the lives of our children. Economic stability is an important component of improving child well-being because children thrive only when their families thrive.

‘Banking While Black’: How Cashing a Check Can Be a Minefield

As this New York Times article featuring some Atlanta customer experiences highlights, Black customers risk being racially profiled on everyday visits to bank branches. Under federal laws, there is little recourse as long as the banks ultimately complete their transactions.

We Must Talk About Race to Fix Economic Inequality

Demos President Heather McGhee and UC Berkeley Law Professor and author of “Dog Whistle Politics” Ian Haney López tell the story of how racism fuels economic inequality and what we can do about it.

Housing Segregation and Redlining in America: A Short History

This video contains explicit language. As we witnessed protests across the U.S. in response to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, it’s important to understand how we got here. This 6-minute explainer video from NPR Code Switch  shines a light on the oppressive Home Owners’ Loan Corporation’s redlining maps from the 1930s. (6 minutes)

How Atlanta Became the Capitol of Income Inequality

The latest analysis found those in the City of Atlanta’s top income bracket made nearly 20 times more than those at the bottom. (4 minutes)