Report: Coronavirus Will Make Income Inequality Even Worse for Black and Brown Americans

The Coronavirus pandemic has hit low-income Black and Latino Americans harder than other groups and, as a result, the income divide in the U.S. will likely rise, according to a new report.

The report released July 23 by Deloitte, states before the coronavirus pandemic and the related recession, Black and Hispanic Americans were more likely to work low-wage positions, lack private health insurance, and have higher poverty rates than non-Latino Whites and Asian Americans. The coronavirus has only made those divides larger.

A lack of healthcare and income will lead to an increase in income inequality, especially in minority communities. According to the report, income and wealth inequality in the U.S. has risen since the early 1970s and was showing signs of growing before the coronavirus hit the U.S.

Since 1990, the proportion of wealth held by those in the top 10 percent of household income has risen from 60.8 percent to 70.0 percent. However, that’s nothing compared with the top one percent.The wealth owned by just the top one percent of income earners has gone up from 17.2 percent to 26 percent. In short, more than a quarter of the country’s wealth is in the hands of the top one percent.

The study also showed occupation largely influences income inequality between races and ethnic groups. Deloitte categorized 22 broad occupations into three wage groups—low-wage, medium-wage, and high-wage—based on mean nominal wages in 2018.

Low-wage occupations, including office and administration positions, transportation and material moving,  ground cleaning, and maintenance are overwhelmingly worked by Black and Latino Americans. 50.4 percent of Black Americans work in low-wage positions; that number rises to 51.1 percent for Latino Americans. The percentage of White and Asians working low-wage positions is below 40 for both races.

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