The disparities in assets and ownership seen between communities of color and whites perpetuate a troubling problem in Illinois. Thousands of African Americans, Latinos, Asians, American Indians and other communities of color are denied access to opportunities for wealth building and future prosperity. Wealth-building activities are crucial to securing personal well-being and increasing economic mobility. Wealth is calculated as the total value of what one owns minus any remaining outstanding debt. Assets, a means to build wealth, provide an array of benefits including social influence, political participation, household stability and an orientation toward the future. Gaining wealth through asset ownership -- home ownership, retirement savings accounts, entrepreneurship, advanced college education -- provides the footing for individuals to move up the socioeconomic ladder.
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