In Cook County, residents of color are more likely to struggle paying for their basic needs, according to a new report by the Financial Health Network and The Chicago Community Trust.
"I realized things were tough in Chicago. I didn't realize the disparities were so much worse here than they are in other parts of the United States," Chicago Community Trust President and CEO Andrea Sáenz said.
The study found the following: 13% of Black residents, 16% of Latinx residents, and 38% of Asian residents in Cook County are considered financially healthy, compared to 49% of white residents.
The gap in financial health persists across all household income levels, including those who make well over six figures.
"For someone making $100,000 a year who is Black or Latinx, it is more likely that they had to self-fund their educational path to get there," Sáenz said.
The study also found 87% of white households have a retirement/pension account compared to Black households 49% and 58% of Latinx households.
White households were four times more likely to have received inheritance compared to Black and Latinx households, according to the report.
The Chicago Community Trust has been working to close the racial wealth disparity.
The organization hopes the report draws more attention to the financial hardships facing Black and Latinx residents.
"It's a wakeup call to those who care about these issues," Sáenz said.
The Chicago Community Trust held a meeting this afternoon that focused on ways to increase homeownership in the Black and brown communities.
Sáenz said bringing as many people to the table as possible to tackle the financial health gap is key.
"We got here because of policy decisions. We need to make smarter policy decisions going forward," she said.