Median net worth for single black women: $5

This is staggering to me. I haven’t read the study that this article references yet.

Here are a few quotes.

I think the reason the number is so low is fairly obvious. Teenage pregnancy and the abandonment of responsibility by too many young black males has placed parental respoonsibiities on young women who have not completed the formal education necessary to get higher paying jobs. Plus without the second income of a responsible male, they have little chance to pursue an education or generate disposable income for savings and wealth building. Nevertheless, I am still shocked that black women are in as bad a shape as this, financially.

The end of the article says some fairly controversial things.

It seems to me that government intervention isn’t the answer. I think that a huge portion of this is about behavior. There needs to be a cultural shift where black women simply stop getting pregnant so early out of wedlock.

I think it isn’t only “earliness” of black single motherhood but frequency that is significant here. This article notes:

While those percentages may look more startling than they are (I think it means, for example, that 72% of black women who gave birth in 2007 were unmarried, not that 72% of all black women became unmarried mothers in 2007), they definitely indicate massive differences across race.

And when a woman’s a single mother, let’s face it, she’s not going to have a lot of opportunities to accumulate net worth, especially when she has a low-paying job and/or multiple kids. Frankly, I’m a bit surprised that the median net worth for black single women in that age range is as high as $5; raising kids on your own is hellacious expensive. And as the article in the OP’s link notes, many of these women have other financial burdens too:

While I’m sure there are a fair number of shiftless extravagant single black women out there, it seems that a significant part of the reason that single black women in their prime years are so poor in terms of assets is that they’re spending all their money on the needs of their families and communities.

Is this study considering debt to be negative wealth?

Since it’s dealing with a median instead of a mean I’m not sure it would matter (setting all the “negative wealths” to zero wouldn’t change the median wealth).

The basic upshot is that around 50% of single black women have zero net wealth - a disturbing but not altogether surprising finding, IMO.

Have not read the study but I think debt has to be counted negatively else they could not even buy food. (The clothes on their back is worth more than that.)

Right, as long as the median value is positive it doesn’t matter whether you treat all negative values as negative or zero. But in order to compute what the median is in the first place, I think we have to treat debt amounts as negative numbers.

Why are they comparing single White women “in the prime of their working years (ages 36 to 49)” with, presumably, all single Black women?

Does single = never married or does it included divorced women?

They are not. Here’s the full report; see Table 3 on p. 8 to see the comparisons by race and age group. The $5 median wealth figure is specifically for single non-white women aged 36-49. (Interestingly, that category included not only black but also Hispanic women.)

Interestingly, the median wealth of single women of all races in the 18-35 age group is $0, compared to $5000 for single white men and $1000 for single non-white men. Both white and non-white women start to catch up to their male counterparts after age 50.
Ah, the things I’ll do to procrastinate on making the practice final for my calculus class… All right, back to work.

The article says:

Which explains why even younger women’s networth is $0.

They are using wealth as a synonym for net worth. Net worth is simply defined as assets minus liabilities.

The answer isn’t government intervention, at least not directly.

It’s better education, sex education and reenforcement of “values” (as much as I hate that term). Lets face it, people are going to have sex out of marriage. They’re even going to have sex out of long term, committed relationships.

But, the fact needs to be drilled into their heads that without some form of long term, reliable commitment sex that leads to reproduction should be off the table. Abstinence doesn’t work – but the goddamn pill does.

Well, someone’s gotta be at the bottom of the pile. If it weren’t single black women, it would be someone else, and then we could have a thread speculating about the reasons why they are on the bottom.

I guess I just see the results of this study as a statistical artifact (i.e., that’s just how the numbers shake out) and not really worthy of thinking a whole lot about.

Can’t say I’m surprised. So, you think $5 is a happy median?

One BLACK WOMAN is worth five BUCKS? :dubious:

Sure, but that doesn’t mean that the lowest level of the pile has to be as low as five bucks.

By the way, since you seem to have missed my previously posted reference to Table 3 in the full study report, note that $5 for non-white women aged 36-49 isn’t in fact the “bottom of the pile” for median net worth.

The bottom of the pile is the $0 value for median net worth for women aged 18-35, both white women and non-white women.
ETA: elucidator, I don’t want to have to warn you again. Watch it.

For Zero dollars I’ll take three, please.
My slaveshops need new workers.

Post meant to point out the silliness of putting a “value” in the manner the study in the OP uses.

:confused: Um, are you saying that the concept of financial net worth is “silly”? Or is it specifically something about comparing the median net worth numbers of different groups of people that you find silly?

And don’t worry, nobody seriously thought you were really trying to buy three actual women for $0. Everybody knows that the women you get for $0 on the internet are only digital pictures.

First, let me point out that measuring based on Net Worth is silly because having a net worth of $0 can actually put someone in a better position, both financially and in happiness than having a net worth of $30,000.

Person A: has no job, owns a house in the slums and collects welfare. Their house is valued at a whopping $30,000.

Person B: has a job making $120,000/yr, a mortgage (for $320,000) on a $300,000 house, a new Accord for himself (which is valued at $20,000, but he has $24,000 in payments) and a new [insert girly sports car] for the wife (which he also owes 2,000 more than true value on the car).
Who would you say is better off? Person A, or Person B? Before we broke the stats down, Person A looked a whole lot better, but Person B is actually far better off (at least, as long as they keep their job) all around, even considering the fact that Person B has as much negative equity as Person A has Positive.

And this doesn’t even get into the fact that measuring people’s quality of life based on their material possessions is completely contrary to both my experience, and study on the matter.

This study isn’t claiming to measure happiness or quality of life. It’s a study of comparative wealth levels among different groups.

And the Person A in your example definitely has more wealth (at the moment) than Person B, especially considering that the study doesn’t count vehicles as assets (the only assets included are home equity, stock and business ownership, and cash accounts).

Sure, as your rather specialized example illustrates, net worth or wealth doesn’t always correlate with quality of future prospects, much less emotional happiness. However, it seems to be a fairly good yardstick for estimating financial security and opportunity on average. In particular, drastic disparities in wealth between different groups can constitute serious disadvantages for the poorer groups.

Being poor constitutes a serious disadvantage for the poorer groups, did you really need a study to tell you that?

It doesn’t matter which ethnicity is poorer than another, we don’t – or shouldn’t – target ethnicities to “uplift” their wealth, we should target poor people.
If 80% of people within a certain bracket of (poor) income are black, then they’ll probably get 80% of the advantages from the program (not counting factors like applicant-rate, if it’s an application required program) that’s designed to benefit the poor.

Also, as for my “specialized” scenario, I’d wager it’s not as specialized as you might think. The closer you get to “Middle Class” the more a person has usually borrowed, in percentage relationship to their equity. It’s rare to find the fabulously wealthy in extreme debt, and it’s rare to find those on welfare in extreme debt. However, the middle class and upper middle class ooze the stuff.
ETA: Aware that $120,000/yr is not middle class.