View Mobile Site
Text Size: Smaller Larger Normal

Black and Hispanic college graduates trail whites and Asians in debt and income measures, study find

Black and Hispanic college graduates trail whites and Asians in debt and income measures, study find

Though they still outperform high school graduates, some college grads were hit harder by the recession, and the effects linger.


POSTED August 19, 2015 9:09 a.m.
Share on Facebook Bookmark and Share
College graduates are not all created equal, says a new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Even with a college degree, the study finds, black and Hispanic graduates trail whites and Asians on key debt and income measures.

“The long-term trend is shockingly clear,” William R. Emmons, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and one of the authors of the report, told the New York Times. “White and Asian college grads do much better than their counterparts without college, while college-grad Hispanics and blacks do much worse proportionately.”

The report, titled the Demographics of Wealth, looks at how age, race and education shape the separation between those who are doing well and those who are struggling. The study looked closely at 40,000 families.

In part, the study tackles the puzzle of why college education did not seem to buffer the family wealth from the recession for the two racial groups, even though historically this has been the case.

The numbers are actually quite startling. From 1992 to 2013, the study found that "median income of college-grad white families grew by 13 percentage points more than their non-college counterparts. The median income of college-grad Asian families grew 31 percent, while the median income of their non-college counterparts fell 9 percent over the same period. Conversely, median Hispanic and black college-grad incomes fell 10 percent and 12 percent, respectively, while the median incomes of their non-college counterparts rose 16 percent and 17 percent, respectively."

Put more simply, while White and Asian college graduates put more distance between themselves and their racial/ethnic counterparts without a college degree, black and Hispanic college graduates actually lost ground on that measure.

"There is not a simple answer to explain why a college degree has failed to help safeguard the assets of many minority families," the New York Times notes. "Persistent discrimination and the types of training and jobs minorities get have played a role. Another central factor is the heavy debt many blacks and Hispanics accumulate to achieve middle-class status."

The Times also points to other factors, including the fact that black and Hispanic families were more likely to have concentrated their wealth in homes rather than stocks and bonds and that black college graduates disproportionately work in government jobs, which have been hit hard by the lingering economic malaise.
Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...