Racial inequality cost the economy $16 trillion over the last two decades, Citi finds


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Racial inequality is bad for the U.S. in innumerable ways, of course, many of which are hard to calculate directly. But now Citi has put a number to at least one aspect of social injustice, finding in a new study that $16 trillion has been erased from U.S. GDP over the last two decades due to discrimination.

The report’s findings are based on analysis of factors including wages, education, housing, as well as equitable lending to Black entrepreneurs. 

“Racial inequality has always had an outsized cost, one that was thought to be paid only by underrepresented groups,” said Raymond McGuire, vice chairman of Citigroup and one of the report’s authors. “What this report underscores is that this tariff is levied on us all, and particularly in the U.S., that cost has a real and tangible impact on our country’s economic output.”

The bulk of the lost $16 trillion is based on a lack of lending to Black entrepreneurs, which Citi estimates has cost the U.S. $13 trillion in business revenue and 6.1 million new jobs per year. Another $2.7 trillion in income has been lost due to…

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