The Racial Wealth Gap in Iowa is a huge problem that Black Iowans face every day. There are 13 historical policies that directly contribute to these issues, and HOME, Inc. will be sharing a bit about each policy over the next few months.
Overall, Black Iowans living in Polk County face an unemployment rate of 16.7%, whereas the unemployment rate of the whole county is 3.5%. Additionally, the median income for Black households in 2014 was $28,833 as opposed to the $53,712 median income for white households.
These statistics are a stark reality that shows the systemic challenges that Black Iowans face, especially within Polk County and central Iowa. Working to reverse and correct the policies that are set in place to directly oppress Black Iowans is important to ensure equality in our state.
Redlining is one major factor contributing to the racial wealth gap. Redlining is defined as, “Redlining is a discriminatory practice that puts services (financial and otherwise) out of reach for residents of certain areas based on race or ethnicity. It can be seen in the systematic denial of mortgages, insurance, loans, and other financial services based on location rather than on an individual’s qualifications and creditworthiness. Notably, the policy of redlining is felt the most by residents of minority neighborhoods” according to Investopedia.
Des Moines is not immune to the practice of redlining, check out this map of the United States to see how and where redlining affects the Des Moines Community: https://dsl.richmond.edu/panorama/redlining/#loc=5/39.1/-94.58
Addressing racial inequality when it comes to the wealth gap is necessary to ensure the equal treatment of all citizens when it comes to purchasing a home, obtaining insurance, and healthcare.