Children on bicycles along with adults assisting

What Is Community Wealth?

Wealth is usually talked about in terms of individual assets like money, homes, vehicles, or businesses. However, wealth also impacts community assets like happinessthe environment, and political power.

Decreasing wealth inequality benefits all of us. Institutions can do this by building community wealth through progressive policies and programs that go beyond capital

Wealth provides access to opportunity.

Wealth provides benefits beyond buying things. It gives individuals and families stability when they experience hard times, access to stable housing, the ability to invest in children, social connections, and much more.

Wealth is intergenerational.

Assets gained from inheritance or family gifts are the primary reason that white people as a whole have built much more wealth than people of color in the United States. Decreasing wealth inequality will require building wealth for BIPOC by confronting generations of structural racism that prevented them from accumulating assets for almost 250 years.

Who Owns a Home in Seattle?

Insights from the data below:  

  • BIPOC populations own homes at a rate about 16% less than white populations.
  • Home ownership rates for the white population are twice the rate of the Black population in recent years.
  • Low home ownership rates are clustered in the Downtown and Central neighborhoods of Seattle as well as the University District.

Visit the Housing Affordability page to learn more about access to housing.

How Can We Build Community Wealth?

Building wealth for BIPOC communities requires action that dismantles structural racism. Strategies that address power and racial equity create thriving communities. Those strategies include: 

  • Investing in local businesses and communities
  • Investing in employees and providing high-quality jobs
  • Community control of land and housing
  • Building coalitions and collaborating within local communities
  • Focusing on community-driven strategies that honor environmental and cultural character
  • Growing and producing food locally
  • Promoting democratic participation in decision-making

We can fight discrimination by dismantling myths that blame Black and brown people for wealth inequality. For example, many people falsely believe that Black people can close the wealth gap by: 

  • Working harder 
  • Getting a better education 
  • Owning more businesses 
  • Being more "professional
  • model minority 

Systemic racism is the cause of the wealth gap between white people and people of color. Community wealth cannot be built without addressing the displacement of indigenous people, the legacy of slavery, the lasting effects of Jim Crow laws, and centuries of other structural racism that led to the wealth inequality that exists in the US today.

Stories from the Community

An Elegant Utility - Building Across Generations

Inye Wokoma tells the story of his grandfather, who navigated redlining and restrictive covenants after buying a home in the Central District. Inye also highlights the efforts of Michael Woo, who has advocated for workers of color and founded Got Green, a climate justice organization that is building community power in South Seattle.

Café Avole

Solomon Dubie's family immigrated from Ethiopia to Seattle. Solomon shares his unique take on the coffee industry after he converts a convenience store into a coffee shop. The video captures his entrepreneurial story, showing how his cafe acts as a social platform that helps preserve the Rainier Valley community.

 What Are Some Root Causes of Wealth Inequality?

This inequality continues today because of structural racism such as voter suppression, housing discrimination, barriers to financial loans, job discrimination, mass incarceration.

Historically, wealth inequality was caused by racist acts like: the theft and occupation of indigenous land, chattel slavery, the federal government withholding land from former slaves, and redlining and racial covenants.

Who Is Taking Action?

Explore the City of Seattle's Actions Towards Racial Equity

See who to contact, what we'll deliver, and how we plan on meeting our desired outcomes.