UC San Diego Study Says Black Families Have Experienced More ‘Volatile’ Inflation

Black families experience higher and more volatile inflation, impacting prices on groceries and household essentials, according to a report published Monday with research from UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy.

The study, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, looked at inflation for Black households compared to white households from 2004 to 2020 and found inflation is 13% more volatile for Black families.

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Study author Munseob Lee, assistant professor of economics at UCSD, said Black families spend a larger portion of their income on essential goods and services, such as electricity and wireless phone services, compared to white households that spend more on luxury items less likely to fluctuate in price.

“Black and low-income households are more likely to live in food deserts and have limited access to affordable and nutritious food,” Lee said. “As we saw recently, in those areas, retail products became more expensive and shelves in the retail stores became frequently empty because of increased shipping costs and supply chain disruption.

“This volatility makes it more difficult for households to predict and recalibrate consumption and savings,” Lee said.

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