This research brief examines the economic and financial challenges facing boys and men of color and lifts up asset-building strategies that can be integrated with targeted services for this group. It also highlights successful practices that are already addressing financial challenges at a community level and draws from these practices to inform policy recommendations.
- As the U.S. experiences a major demographic shift, with growing populations of people of color, financial insecurity in communities of color is also increasing, contributing to a widening racial wealth gap.
- Young men of color face barriers that undermine their ability to build financial security: an educational achievement gap, low labor force participation rates, disproportionate incarceration rates, and overly harsh enforcement in the criminal justice system and in child support.
- Bringing a targeted focus on boys and men of color into existing programming to break the cycle of poverty can help improve financial stability and overall economic outcomes.
- Practices with a demonstrated record of impact include programs targeted to formerly incarcerated job candidates, programs that bridge the gap between employment and financial security through organizational relationships, and worker-owned cooperatives addressing unemployment among men of color.
- Policy recommendations include requiring financial education in elementary and secondary education curriculum, establishing city government initiatives on financial inclusion for low-income residents, eliminating the practice of jailing defendants for inability to pay court fines and fees, and basing child support on ability to pay – among others.