American demographics are swiftly changing and will continue to do so over the next few decades as the country diversifies. People of color (POC) are making up more and more of the population; as their numbers increase, so will their education, spending power, and business influence. Modern Treatise will highlight these growing entrepreneurial opportunities to professional African American, Hispanic American, and Asian American millennials. It will cover startups founded by people of color, particularly in the tech sector. The online magazine will also feature advice to help its audience overcome longstanding obstacles and reach its full career and financial potential.
Progress in income and wealth for people of color has been a mixed bag. Blacks and Hispanics significantly trail whites in household income, a consistent pattern over the last four decades. The Pew Research Center found that in 2014, median household income for whites was $71300, compared to $43300 (61%) for blacks and Hispanics. For some discouraging historical context, black income was 55% of white income in 1967 and Hispanic income was 67% of white income in 1970, adjusted for inflation. Although black incomes lag behind whites at all levels of education, the gap is smaller when examining those with a bachelor's degree. College-educated black households earned a median of $82300 in 2014, 77% of college-educated white households ($106600), and the white-black disparity in college graduates (36% for whites versus 23% for blacks last year) is getting lower. For high school diploma holders, it has almost been eliminated, at 93% to 88% last year.
The racial wealth gap is rather concerning; the median net worth of white households was $141900 in 2013, compared to $11000 for black households and $13700 for Hispanic households. Some of this is explained by the home ownership gap; last year, the rate was 72% for whites, compared to 43% for blacks and 45% for Hispanics. Unemployment and poverty rates remain significantly higher for blacks and Hispanics than whites. The 2008 recession hit blacks and Hispanics harder than whites, resulting in larger percentage decreases in income and wealth.
The overall financial picture for Asian Americans is more promising. Although they still significantly trail whites in wealth, with a median household net worth around 70% of white households, they have similar levels of income, education, unemployment, and poverty. However, certain subgroups of Asian Americans have alarming high school dropout rates, namely Hmong (40%) and Cambodian (35%), as well as poverty rates (37.8% and 29.3% respectively). They are in danger of being ignored when one only looks at statistics of Asian Americans as a whole.
On a much more auspicious note, the most recent US Census Survey of Business Owners, conducted every 5 years, found that from 2007 to 2012, total US businesses rose from 27.1 million to 27.6 million. Notably, this increase was completely driven by people of color; minority-owned businesses rose from 5.8 million to 8.0 million, increasing their share of the total from 21.3% to 28.8%. White-owned businesses declined from 20.1 million to 19.0 million over the same time period. African Americans (34.5%), Hispanic Americans (46.3%), and Asian Americans (23.8%) all experienced substantial climbs in ownership. People of color have clearly increased their entrepreneurial influence. This especially applies to young adult POC, as millennials consist of 43% non-whites, making them the most diverse generation.
People of color certainly have a long road ahead in achieving economic equality, but there are positive signs, particularly in the trends seen in business ownership. Entrepreneurship deserves to join education in the conversation about key factors to upward mobility. Modern Treatise will serve as a valuable source of information and inspiration to millennials of color looking to accomplish these goals.
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