Published on October 8, 2020

Circulation of dollars in Black communities

The higher the circulation of dollars in a community, the greater the economic stability and opportunities for economic growth. According to the University of Georgia’sSelig Center for Economic Growth, money circulates one time within the African American community, compared to more than six times in the Latino community, nine times in the Asian community and an unlimited amount of times within the white community.  ABlack Star Project study on the racial wealth gap calculates that a dollar circulates six hours in the Black community, 20 days in the Jewish community and 30 days in the Asian community. Blacks have an estimated $1.3 trillion gross national income but only two percent is recirculated in the Black community.

Keeping Black dollars in the Black community is harder than it sounds.  In her Tedx Talk about the impact of Black dollars being spent outside the Black community, author and activist Maggie Anderson shares a story about an Empowerment Experiment during which her family attempted to purchase Black-made products from Black-owned businesses for one year. Anderson uncovered a discouraging picture of a vast economic divide. She discusses how L’Oreal owns one of the largest Black beauty brands in the world (SoftSheen-Carson), demonstrating a white-owned business profiting from a market of exclusively Black buyers. She estimates that up to 80% of revenue of white-owned Hennessy cognac comes from Black consumers but the company has no Black distributors or suppliers and does not advertise in Black-owned media.

The Empowerment Experiment resulted in a landmark study conducted by Steven Rogers at the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Business which proved how supporting Black-owned businesses can benefit the Black community as well as the American economy as a whole. In Anderson’s book Our Black Year, One Family’s Quest to Buy Black in America’s Racially Divided Economy, she notes that if Black spending with Black businesses rose from the current three percent to ten percent, it would create a million new jobs and provide economic security to countless Black households.