When it comes to race and ethnicity, Texas has some of the smaller wealth gaps in the country, according to a new study.
The WalletHub 2022 States with Biggest and Smallest Wealth Gaps by Race/Ethnicity placed Texas in the bottom half at No. 31.
"Wealth gaps exist because of unequal access to higher education and employment for minorities as well as residential segregation that still persists,” said Jill Gonzalez, analyst with WalletHub.
The study found that the Lone Star state ranked 14th for educational attainment gap among people with a bachelor's degree or higher because it has the sixth lowest gap nationwide between black and white Texans at only 16.54%.
"To help more black people and Hispanics attain a bachelor's degree, Texas should make sure that college education is accessible to people regardless of income,” Gonzalez told Newsbreak. “This can be done via grants or scholarships based on academic performance."
The educational attainment gap for a bachelor’s degree between Latinos and white people is higher at 59.08%, according to WalletHub data.
“Wealth gaps are also a result of historic financial differences which allow white people to be able to give inheritances or financial family assistance in purchasing a home for example,” Gonzalez said in an interview.
The data shows that the educational attainment gap among people with at least a high school diploma between black and white Texans is one of the lowest at -7.53%.
“This means that the percentage of black people whose highest level of education is high school out of the total black population in the state is higher than the percentage of white people whose highest level of education is high school out of the total white population in the state,” Gonzalez said.
The study also found a 35% gap in median household income between Latinos and white people and a lower 28.14% median household income gap between black and white Texans.
“Large wealth gaps in household income and home ownership reflect disparities in employment and unequal access to higher education among others,” Gonzalez said.
The study further found that Texas has a low homeownership rate gap of 18.72% between Latinos and white people but it’s higher for black Texans at nearly 39%.
“The home ownership gap can be closed by providing financial assistance to those with lower incomes to help them purchase a residence,” Gonzalez said. “One of the reasons the homeownership gap between Hispanic and white people is lower than the gap between black people and white people could be the fact that there are a lot more Hispanics than black people in Texas.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population statewide is made up of 39.34% Latinos, 41.95% white people and 11.78% African Americans.
"Closing the racial wealth gap requires specific policies that deal with equal employment and wage opportunities in order to address the household income gap, as well as equal access to education and healthcare,” Gonzalez said.
Overall, Washington D.C. has the highest wealth gaps while West Virginia has the lowest.
"To catch up with West Virginia, Texas would need to have a lower median household income gap, a lower unemployment rate gap, a lower poverty rate gap, a lower education attainment gap, as well as a lower uninsured rate gap,” Gonzalez added.