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Wealth disparity prompts discussion

Steve Burger

   The demographics of wealth was the topic of discussion in Owensboro Wednesday. Nearly a hundred people heard a presentation and panel discussion hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

It's a bit depressing, but it is our reality- Sylvia Coleman, executive director, Owensboro Human Relations Commission.

The discussion of a study on wealth and socio-economic influences switched quickly from scholarly to specific once a panel of Owensboro residents gave their views of the study’s findings on how age, education and race can negatively impact the  pursuit of the American Dream. Owensboro Human Relations Commission executive director Sylvia Coleman said,

“I think this is such an eye-opener. It’s a bit depressing, but it is our reality. And, until we agree that as citizens, we are going to have the hard conversations that are truly inclusive of all groups, and that we are going to address these issues one at a time, this is not going to change.”

Presenting for the St. Louis Federal Reserve branch on the 24 years of data included in the study was William Emmons. Emmons says that in terms of education, the differences  between those with a high school diploma and those with a college degree are growing, and have increased even more since the recession years of 2007-2008.

“There’s a huge gap.  The groups that have increased are the college graduates, while the groups with less than college have seen the wealth decline. I think this is a graphic depiction of this 'pulling apart'. Wealth is being increasingly stratified across education groups.”

You’ll hear more from the Demographics of Wealth presentation and discussion on an upcoming edition of The Trend on WNIN-FM.