Low-income deserts widen the wealth gap and hinder the American Dream

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Good morning, damas y caballeros:

I hope you are staying well and healthy as we live through another COVID-19 surge.

While the economy is thriving and unemployment is at a pandemic low, polls, surveys and other indicators show Americans are feeling insecure about their finances.

That dichotomy is not surprising when economic gains have been realized inequitably nationwide. While workers might get a raise, the highest inflation levels in 30 years have chipped away at their earning power.

A new report by the consultant group McKinsey & Company called “The economic state of Latinos in America: The American dream deferred,” shows that while Latinos start more businesses on average than other racial or ethnic groups in the United States, they still face a wealth gap and challenges affording housing and food.

USA TODAY reporter Charisse Jones delved into the report, which showed that Latinos tend to live in areas considered “deserts” that are lower-income and lack access to services and health care. That presents barriers to their ability to prosper.

“The challenges the Latino community faces in making upward economic gains are only deepened by living in these deserts,” says Bernardo Sichel, one of the authors of the McKinsey report.

I have reported on housing in the Nashville area for several years, and my research has found that communities of color are disproportionally paying a higher percentage of their income on housing and living costs. They are not on the whole seeing the benefits of growth.

That is a sign there is a lot more to do in federal, state and local policy on narrowing the prosperity gap, in which some are benefiting and others are falling behind.

Here’s what else you will find in this week’s newsletter. Scroll and click the links:

Please consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine and booster and encourage your family and friends to do the same.

¡Muchas gracias!

David Plazas is the director of opinion and engagement for the USA TODAY Network Tennessee. He is of Colombian and Cuban descent, has studied or worked in several Spanish-speaking countries, and was the founding editor of Gaceta Tropical in Southwest Florida. He has lived in Tennessee since 2014. Call him at (615) 259-8063, email him at dplazas@tennessean.com or tweet to him at @davidplazas.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Low-income deserts widen the wealth gap and hinder the American Dream

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