Research Report State and Local Approaches to the Chicago Region’s Racial and Ethnic Wealth Inequity
Steven Brown, Marcela Montes, Hannah Hassani
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In Chicago, the growing racial and ethnic wealth gap reflects the limits on opportunity that hold back many residents of color. Foundational building blocks of economic prosperity, such as owning a home or paying for college, require not just income from a job, but access to capital.

In this report, we look at the effects of the racial and ethnic wealth gap nationally and in Chicago; explore which policies and practices created and continue to reinforce it; and present approaches that policymakers, practitioners, and other state and local changemakers could consider to narrow the wealth gap in the Chicago region and in other regions across the country.

Efforts to narrow the racial and ethnic wealth gap will require a long-term and sustained commitment to a multifaceted strategy that includes more specific data on the racial and wealth disparities in the region. We highlight

  • policies and programs that have shown promise in building savings and assets for Black and Latinx families by increasing sustainable homeownership, savings, and entrepreneurship rates;
  • strategies to prevent high-risk, short-term, and predatory lending and to increase opportunities for responsible lending to reduce delinquent debt; and
  • bold initiatives that aim to restructure wealth-building systems and tackle the long-standing effects of racial discrimination to ensure greater equity in building wealth.

Together, changemakers in cities and regions could consider these strategies to narrow the racial wealth gap and build a more stable and vital region.

Research Areas Wealth and financial well-being Race and equity
Tags Asset and debts Racial and ethnic disparities Racial segregation Wealth inequality Inequality and mobility Racial wealth gap Structural racism
Policy Centers Research to Action Lab
States Illinois
Cities Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI