News and Publications

Wilmington’s Racial Wealth Divide

Back to Archive

“Economic inequality has expanded over the past decade, shutting the windows of opportunity to millions of Americans. In urban centers, this growing inequality has manifested through gentrification and the continued concentration of poverty in communities of color.”
– Racial Wealth Divide in Wilmington, Prosperity Now and JP Morgan Chase, March 2019

We have spent considerable time here at the DCF talking about the Opportunity Gap in America – and in Delaware. There are many issues that fuel this gap…education, employment, family connections, family stability, crime…

In addition to those factors, we also know that race is at the front of Opportunity Gap drivers. The new report from Prosperity Now and JP Morgan Chase – “Racial Wealth Divide in Wilmington,” brings that fact home in powerful way. The report – issued in March – shows that racial economic inequality is not just embedded across the country, but that economic racial divide is deeply enmeshed in Wilmington. For instance, in Wilmington, the overall median income is $40,065, a full $15,000 below the national median income. But notably, the median income of black residents is only $30,034, and for Latinos it’s just under $33,000. For whites that number is over $60,000.

We’ve seen this data before. It peppers the entirety of the DelawareFocus website. But this new report goes deeper, addressing issues like the cost-burden to renters and the wealth divide – a particularly pernicious and long-lasting divide. It discusses the education divide, where only 64% of Latinos in Wilmington have a high school degree, compared to over 80% of Blacks and Asians, and 90% of the white population.

All of us need . And the authors – Prosperity Now and JP Morgan Chase – challenge all of us. We need to better understand this historical divide. And we need to start doing something new. For one, the organizations behind the report will be launching the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative here in Wilmington, providing new leadership.

In a future blog, I’ll talk about DCF’s new equity cohort, a group of 12 Wilmington area community activists and leaders who are going to look at equity in Wilmington, and come up with recommendations for our work.

In the meantime, we look forward to partnering with our colleagues involved in this work, and commit to addressing the challenges in a more active way.