Wealth disparity is enormous. Perhaps, more pernicious, race, ancestral origin and nativity are at least as strong predictors of wealth than class itself. Yet the emergent political discourse emphasizes individual agency, education, financial literacy, and hard work as the explanation and solution for economic security. This essay will compare and contrast the conventional wisdom that over-emphasizes education with the structural roles of intra and intergenerational transfers resulting from remittance, inheritance and in vivo transfers. Using data from the National Asset Scorecard in Communities of Color (NASCC) we are able to examined these issues for domestic and foreign born populations disaggregated by ancestral origin in five ethnically plural metropolitan areas — Boston, MA, Los Angeles, CA, Miami, FL, Tulsa, OK, and Washington, DC.
- Doctoral program in Public and Urban Policy, The Milano School of International Affairs, New School, New York
- Associate Professor of Economics and Urban Policy, New School, New York