Under Donald Trump, Black Americans continue to trail whites in employment, home ownership
Joe Biden called out President Donald Trump's record on race relations during the final presidential debate. USA TODAY
At Thursday night’s final debate between Donald Trump and former vice-president Joe Biden, Trump once again boasted he was the best president for Black Americans since Abraham Lincoln.
But has the Trump administration actually made Black lives better?
While Trump typically touts that African Americans have achieved historically low unemployment under his watch, their jobless rate has spiked during the COVID-19-related economic downturn and remains nearly twice that of whites.
Home ownership rates for African Americans continue to dramatically trail that of other groups. And Black women have less savings to get them through lean times
Here's how Black Americans fare when comparing some markers of financial stability and success.
Three years into the Trump administration, African Americans experienced a record low unemployment rate of 5.4% in August 2019. But the economic downturn sparked by the coronavirus pandemic has erased millions of jobs and reversed that historic decline.
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In September, 12.1% of Black Americans were out of work, compared to 7% of whites,10.3% of Latinos and 9.9% of Asians.
Additionally, the job gains Black Americans experienced before the economic downturn were often in positions that paid low wages, making it harder to build up the savings and benefits needed to stay afloat during tough times.
Owning a home is a critical building block for wealth, providing equity that can help pay for college, launch a business or give a financial leg up to future generations.
But a history of racist policies -- from redlining, which blocked African Americans from getting loans, to restrictive covenants confining many Black Americans to crowded, underserved neighborhoods -- have hindered their ability to purchase and hold onto property.
Homeownership for Black Americans ticked up slightly this year but still significantly lags behind whites. The national homeownership rate for white households was 73.7% the first three months of the year, up from 73.2% during that period in 2019 according to an analysis of census data by the real estate brokerage Redfin.
But only 44% of Black households owned a home in the first quarter, up from 41.1% in 2019.
That homeownership divide has contributed to a stark gap in the net worth of Black vs. white families.
In 2016, the net worth of white families was $171,000, compared to $17,150 for Black families, according to Brookings Institution.
Black women, who like many of their peers are often breadwinners, are struggling to cover basic necessities during the pandemic, with 48% saying they are unable to pay for necessities like food and housing, according to a survey commissioned by the Time's Up Foundation and conducted by the firm PerryUndem.
Many have also been unable to build a financial cushion, with 55% of Black women saying they have less than $200 saved.
Trump often points to a soaring stock market as evidence that the economy remains strong even amid relatively high unemployment.
But Black households are less invested in the stock market than their white counterparts.
Just 33.5% of Black households owned stocks last year, according to data from the Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, almost 61% of white households participated in the stock market.
Black Americans may have less money to invest in equities, experts say, and centuries of discrimination have made some wary of assets that aren't more tangible.
Contributing: Associated Press
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