Just four years ago, the median wealth of African American families was $17,600, compared to $171,000 for white families, a problem known as the racial wealth gap. This gap is driven by racial discrimination in legal, financial and educational institutions, commonly referred to as systemic racism. While systemic racism has existed in the US for decades, it’s only relatively recent that researchers have started trying to calculate the losses it has caused.
In 2013, medical debt affected almost 2 million people, making it the top cause of bankruptcy in the US. Even outside of bankruptcy situations, nearly 56 million adults will continue to battle medical debt. That is more than 20% of the population between the ages of 19 and 64. Even with health insurance, Americans cannot always avoid this common cause of serious debt.