Research: Racial Differences In Household Wealth In The United States

1460 words - 6 pages

The wealth difference that exists between African and Caucasian men is vast and expanding (Charles & Hurst, 2002). After accounting for huge dissimilarities in income, family structure and wealth, the gap portion which remain unexplained may be attributed to belief, behavior and value differences between these groups. Despite an enormous and persistent black-white gap, many proclaim that society has transcended the racial divide (Hamilton, 2009). Wealth is a paramount indicator of social well-being. Wealthier individuals are better positioned to afford elite education, access capital to start businesses, reside in higher-amenity neighborhoods, exert political influence through campaign ...view middle of the document...

A group’s consumer behaviors may also provide insight of an individual’s views on wealth. For example, one idea is poor people are in competition with other poor people in their community for prestige. Thus, a cycle of perpetual self-gratification ensues through consumerism within black communities to obtain status through materialism. A new car, expensive clothes and jewelry, or electronics are portable and visible; these goods and practices signal a sense of one’s material success and “value” to their peers, and perhaps even to a broader white society that devalues the personhood of minorities.
Research Questions
What beliefs influence Coast Guard service members’ views on wealth?
The general view of Coast Guard service members’ relative to wealth is hard work and a frugal lifestyles is required for attainment. This perspective view on wealth suggests accumulation of large sums of money in bank and investment accounts by individuals. It also suggests that many service members were less incline to associate consumerism as a way of amassing wealth. However, general view of the definition of wealth ranged from three types of beliefs among participants: wealth is an accumulation of large sums of money in personal accounts; an ability to purchase desired items without hesitation and; ability to aide family or friends in buying essential items.
How are Black Americans perspective views of wealth different from White Americans?
Although both groups generally shared a conservative perspective view there were differences among and between the groups. Meaning, blacks and whites largely held that wealth was determined through accumulations in investment portfolios and individual bank accounts. However, black Americans extended greater appreciation of an ability to assist family and friends with essential purchases than White Americans. The two groups differ significantly from one another on account balances relating to wealth, African Americans identifying lower account amounts with wealth.
How does blacks and whites marital status construct their views of wealth?
Marital status has a strong effect on wealth. Marriage not only contributes to reduced expenditures because of the joint household but can also be considered a risk-reducing institution, because each individual wants to ensure the other’s future. Wealth tends to be highest among married couples (Smith 1995a). Married couples tend to save more than other household types (Lupton and Smith 1999). Savings among married couples tend to be higher as the duration of the marriage increases (Lupton and Smith 1999).
Both blacks and whites views marriage as a potential positive in acquiring wealth; however, neither groups view married as essential for financial success. A higher number of black participants were married compared to white in the study. Those with dual earners, maximum one child, strongly viewed marriage as positive in acquiring wealth.
How do external factors such as social...

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