UCSD study says Black Americans hit hardest

SAN DIEGO – Researchers at the University of California San Diego released data Monday that they say indicates Black households are among those hit the hardest by rising inflation rates in the United States.

According to a new study published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Black families experienced as much as 13% “more volatile inflation,” affecting the cost of groceries and daily needs.

The author of the study, UCSD assistant professor of economics Munseob Lee, said in the study that research shows Black households are likely to spend to spend more of their monthly income on essential goods and services than white households. The study also said that white households have nearly six times the savings of Black households and that white families are more likely to spend income on luxuries like wine and pet care.

“Black and low-income households are more likely to live in food deserts and have limited access to affordable and nutritious food,” Lee said. “As we saw recently, in those areas, retail products became more expensive and shelves in the retail stores became frequently empty because of increased shipping costs and supply chain disruption. This volatility makes it more difficult for households to predict and recalibrate consumption and savings.”

Lee’s research also says that when inflation hits white families, they tend to shop at lower-cost grocery stores and shops, but that Black households were often already shopping at these stores.

“My research shows that income alone may be an incomplete measure to determine if households are eligible for government assistance, such as food stamps,” Lee said. “With inflation at its highest level in decades, the poorest communities are bearing the brunt of rising costs.”

The study utilized data from survey responses taken annually between 2004 and 2020 and more than 60,000 responses were recorded. Race was self-reported by each survey submitter, according to Lee.

To read the full study and more of Lee’s research, click HERE.

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