|Title||Reversing the Gains of the Civil Rights and Women’s Movements: How Housing Strain and Market Exclusion Led to Wealth Depletion During the Great Recession|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2021|
|Authors||West, S, Baker, ACastro, Ma, C, Elliot, S|
|Journal||Journal of the Society for Social Work & Research|
|Keywords||Black women, gender, Intersectionality, race, Recession, Retirement, Wealth|
Objective: We use feminist standpoint theory to investigate how the intersection of identity influenced wealth loss following the Great Recession among older single adults who benefitted from the social movements and legislative gains of the 1960s and 1970s. Looking back on more than a decade of recession and recovery, this study explores how intersections of race, class, and gender produced different wealth outcomes for the early baby boomer EBB cohort. Method: A sample of older baby boomers from the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study were selected at two waves, 2004 and 2016. We used a generalized estimation equation with interaction effects to test changes in wealth over time for different race and gender groups. Results: Controlling for income and health, we found that both single Black and white women lost wealth at significantly higher rates than single white men. Poor health was associated with wealth shocks, or substantial wealth loss, for single white women, whereas the intersection of race and gender was associated with wealth loss for single Black women. Black women in this cohort ended the Great Recession with $85,000 less than their peers based on the overlapping identities of race and gender independent of health trouble. Conclusions: The policy history of women’s credit and lending access, as well as predatory targeting during the subprime lending crisis, contextualizes our findings. We discuss policy approaches to prevent future wealth erosion in households headed by Black women.