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 15th Annual Edition
'Buying Power of Black America' report breaks down billions in expenditures

Black consumers are responding to tighter economic condition by focusing more of their spending on items and services that improve their homes and lifestyle. That's one of the trends revealed in the 15th annual report, "The Buying Power of Black America," published by Target Market News. The report analyzes spending for black households in 2008 and finds that African-Americans...
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 Black Stats  
Frequently requested data on African American consumers

Black Buying Power:
 $803 Billion (2008)

Black U.S. Population:
 41.1 million

Top Five Black Cities
 - New York
 - Chicago
 - Detroit
 - Philadelphia
 - Houston

Top Five Black Metros:
 - New York-New Jersey
 - Washington-Baltimore
 - Chicago-Gary
 - Los Angeles
 - Philadelphia

Top Five Expenditures:
 - Housing $166.3 bil.
 - Food $65.3 bil.
 - Cars/Trucks $31.5 bil.
 - Clothing $26.9 bil.
 - Health Care $23.9 bil.

Click here for more stats from "The Buying Power of Black America."
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U.S. Census 
Bureau Data

Click here to go to African-American Census Bureau data

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Bob Johnson urges national dialogue and reforms on growing black/white wealth gap

(July 25, 2010) In an address to Members of Congress and participants attending a Congressional Black Caucus meeting, Robert L. Johnson, founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies, called for a national discussion about the growing wealth gap which he referred to as a "wealth gap Tsunami threatening African American families."

Johnson cited the recent Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University study, among other studies, which conclude "the wealth gap between white and African American families has more than quadrupled over the course of a generation; the racial wealth gap increased by $75,000, from $20,000 to $95,000; and, at least 25 percent of African Americans have no assets." According to the U.S. Census data, "white household median net worth is 10 times that of Black households. The median net worth for African Americans was $11,800 compared to $118,000 for whites."

In response to addressing this compelling national crisis, Johnson stated that, "We must admit the harsh reality of a history of institutionalized racism and economic discrimination against African Americans is the primary cause of wealth disparity between Black and white Americans" and "we must be willing to talk about race recognition remedies at the highest levels of government as well as between Black and white Americans."

Johnson suggests that the wealth disparity between African Americans and whites compares to the "compelling national interest test" cited in the Supreme Court's Adarand decision where the Court ruled 'a racial or ethnic classification must serve a compelling interest and must be narrowly tailored to serve that interest.' In his remarks to the Caucus, Johnson listed several race recognition policy initiatives that could be discussed.

Johnson had the following suggestions to address this compelling national problem and to get the conversation started.  The Federal Government should:

1. Allow black businesses to be eligible for government set aside contracts if they own 10 percent of a business rather than the existing 51 percent due to the 10-to-1 wealth gap between Blacks and whites --- the African American owner must retain control of the board of directors and voting control. Significantly increase the dollar volume of set aside contracts for Black businesses at all government agencies.

2. Encourage majority-owned businesses to invest in black-owned companies by significantly reducing or deferring the taxes on the economic gain from those investments similar to the FCC "tax certificate policy" which motivated majority-owned media companies to sell properties to minorities.

3. Allow African American families earning less than $250,000 annually to defer federal income taxes, without interest, provided tax deferrals are placed into a 401(k) type savings account which can only be drawn out at retirement or upon death at which time the government would be reimbursed for the deferred taxes. The gain on the 401(k) investment would be available to the families at retirement or passed on to future generations.

4. Create a Treasury-backed fund to securitize short-term borrowing or emergency loans made by minority banks or other lending institutions to African American families provided these loans are marketed and made in a regulated and transparent manner. The securitized loans would encourage banks and lenders to make short-term or emergency borrowing available at reasonable rates and end payday lending as we know it today.

5. Require large banks under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) to fund a nationwide marketing campaign targeted to the African American community, particularly young adults that will focus on financial literacy and savings.


The RLJ Companies, founded by Robert L. Johnson, is an innovative business network that provides strategic investments in a diverse portfolio of companies. The RLJ Companies seeks to target undiscovered or underserved markets then exercise solid management to achieve results. Within The RLJ Companies portfolio, Johnson owns or holds majority interests in businesses operating in banking, private equity, hospitality, automobile dealerships, entertainment, and video lottery terminal (VLT) gaming.

The RLJ Companies is headquartered in Bethesda, MD, with affiliate operations in Charlotte, NC; Orlando, FL; Little Rock, AR; Los Angeles, CA; San Juan, PR; and Monrovia, Liberia. Prior to founding The RLJ Companies, Johnson was founder and chairman of Black Entertainment Television (BET). For more information go to www.rljcompanies.com.


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