The Color of Law

The Color of Law

A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

Richard Rothstein

In 1989, the most recent year for which such data are available, 6 percent of black households inherited wealth from the previous generation. Of those who inherited wealth, the average inheritance was $ 42,000. Four times as many white households—24 percent—inherited wealth, and the average inheritance was $ 145,000. In that year 18 percent of black households received cash gifts from parents who were still living, in an average amount of $ 800. About the same share of white households received such gifts, but the average amount—$ 2,800—was much greater. This, too, is the consequence of government’s twentieth-century racial policy in housing and income.

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