Today, the Economic Policy Institute released a new series of essays and interactive chartbook seeking to advance anti-racist economic research and policy and provide a statistical snapshot of racial and ethnic disparities in the United States.
The collection of essays—from leading scholars, writers, and advocates—discusses principles for centering race and ethnicity in research and policy, and covers topics specifically relevant to Asian American, Black, Latinx, and Native American communities.
Anti-racist research requires thinking critically about the lens through which we interpret data and develop policy, writes Valerie Wilson, Director of EPI’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy, in the introduction to this new resource targeted toward academics, policymakers, advocates, journalists, and all who care about advancing racial and economic justice. The series includes:
- Essays on community organizing and policy and politics, explaining the need for race-conscious policies and the barriers to anti-racist coalitions.
- Essays on race and political economy, exploring how new policy paradigms advance growth in Native American communities and are needed to address the structural forces that limit opportunities in Black communities.
- Essays on empirical analysis, focusing on interpreting the race variable in empirical analysis and on enhancing data collection to better represent the Hispanic population in the United States.
“There is no one-size-fits-all solution to equity, which is why we convened a group of experts to highlight specific opportunities and challenges in anti-racist policy and research. Rather than simply reciting the problem of racial inequity, anti-racist research questions its causes, exposes its consequences, and proposes ways to resolve it. Through this, anti-racist research can create standards for making and sustaining meaningful changes that help to dismantle social, economic, and political structures that perpetuate racial inequality,” said Wilson.
The accompanying chartbook depicts racial/ethnic disparities observed through: (1) population demographics; (2) civic participation; (3) labor market outcomes; (4) income, poverty, and wealth; and (5) health. The chartbook also highlights some notable intersections of gender with race and ethnicity, including educational attainment, labor force participation, life expectancy, and maternal mortality. Most charts include data for five racial/ethnic groups—white, Black, Hispanic, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI), and American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN).
The findings show how much more work is needed to address longstanding and persistent racial inequities. For instance, racial wealth disparities remain stark: The median white family’s net worth was $189,100 in 2019, compared with $36,050 for the median Hispanic household and $24,100 for the median Black household.
The chartbook and essays adapt content from the workshop series, “Turning Good Intentions into Constructive Engagement on Race,” hosted in 2019 and 2020 by EPI’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy in partnership with the Groundwork Collaborative and the Center for Popular Democracy.
“Longstanding inequities are the result of decades of racist and sexist policy choices designed to exclude people from economic prosperity based on their identity,” said Dr. Rakeen Mabud, chief economist and managing director of policy and research at the Groundwork Collaborative. “This important new resource shines a light on the critical need to fill data and research gaps to better understand—and ultimately correct—these disparities to build an economy that truly works for all.”
The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank created in 1986 to include the needs of low- and middle-income workers in economic policy discussions.
The Groundwork Collaborative’s mission is to advance an economic vision for strong, broadly shared prosperity and true opportunity for all. Visit our website and follow us on Twitter @Groundwork.