Lori Thomas

Director of Research and Faculty Engagement

Articles

  • ui.uncc.edu
    Jun 15, 2020
    Most efforts to increase economic stability operate under the assumption that helping individuals increase one key asset will eliminate wealth disparities. Educational attainment, long seen as the surest path to equality, is a great example. Education broadens career choices, enhances specialized skills, and raises earnings. But the value of an education —  and specifically its impact on household wealth — varies considerably across racial and ethnic groups.  The data are clear: obtaining a college degree is not enough to close the racial wealth gap.
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Jun 05, 2020
    Wealth serves as a buffer through economic downturns, job loss, and other unexpected emergencies such the COVID-19 pandemic. In Charlotte, households of color are more than twice as likely to lack sufficient savings or assets that can be used to pay for basic needs for three months without income when compared to White households. The result: almost half of all Latinx and 44% of Black households wouldn’t be able to cover basic needs after three months. 
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Jun 01, 2020
    In Mecklenburg County, business ownership rates are proportionate to the racial and ethnic makeup of the county. But disparities persist: Although ownership is demographically proportionate, the majority of the economic value of business ownership is held in a small number of White-owned businesses. 
  • ui.uncc.edu
    May 26, 2020
    Income is a major component of wealth, but the relationship between income and wealth is complex. Wealth and income are both used to measure a family’s economic situation, but they tell us different things about the health and strength of economic well-being. 
  • ui.uncc.edu
    May 18, 2020
    Home ownership is one of the key strategies to close the racial wealth gap. A home is where households see gains in equity (market value of home minus any liens attached to property)  and is typically the largest asset Americans hold, regardless of race or ethnicity.  But Black and Latinx households have considerably less equity in their homes than White and Asian households. As Richard Rothstein says in The Color of Law, “A home is one of the only assets where the race of the owner affects the rate of return.”
  • ui.uncc.edu
    May 12, 2020
    Wealth is more than money. While simply defined as the net amount of assets over liabilities, wealth functions in more expansive ways. It opens doors to homeownership, no-debt or low-debt education, business ownership, and the ability to weather personal and national emergencies.  These opportunities and the racial wealth gap that locks some groups out — White households in the United States have 10 times the wealth of Black households and 7 times the wealth of Latinx households — have historical policy roots.
  • ui.uncc.edu
    May 06, 2020
    In the United States, White households have 10 times the wealth of Black households and 7 times the wealth of Latinx households.This has not occurred by mere happenstance. Wealth is built through a combination of pathways, each with its own history of policy and practice.  The consequences enhance or hinder asset building across racial and ethnic groups. The systemic patterns of racial inequity that lead to such stark differences in wealth accumulation are the same well-worn paths that lead to unequal outcomes in labor, housing, education, and health.
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Mar 23, 2020
    If there has ever been an object lesson on why housing matters and why we must prioritize providing it for people who don’t have a place to live, this latest crisis should teach us. Charlotte’s homeless population is at particular risk as we collectively adjust to COVID-19.  Work to end homelessness takes on new urgency in a pandemic, for reasons of both personal and community safety. The lack of housing makes social distancing difficult, if not impossible. Many individuals experiencing homelessness are especially vulnerable to the virus because of high rates of underlying health conditions. A growing number of homeless individuals are over the age of 60. Simple necessities to maintain hygiene and prevent the spread of any infection are not regularly available (it’s hard to wash your hands for 20 seconds if you don’t have a sink). 
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Aug 12, 2019
    A new program designed to identify solutions for some of the pressing needs and issues of the greater Charlotte region is getting underway this fall at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. For the first time, the Institute has named a cohort of Faculty Fellows to conduct short-term research projects and work alongside community stakeholders to understand and share findings that can guide community decision-making.