Between 1963 and 2013:
- families near the bottom of the wealth distribution (those at the 10th percentile) went from having no wealth on average to being about $2,000 in debt,
- those in the middle roughly doubled their wealth—mostly between 1963 and 1983,
- families near the top (at the 90th percentile) saw their wealth quadruple,
- and the wealth of those at the 99th percentile—in other words, those wealthier than 99 percent of all families—grew sixfold.
Why is the racial wealth gap so big? People with lower earnings may have a harder time saving. The typical white person earns $2 million over a lifetime, while the typical African American earns $1.5 million and the typical Hispanic person earns $1 million. These disparities partly reflect historical racial disadvantages that continue to affect later generations.