Racial Wealth Gap Simulation

What is it?

More than 3,000 individuals have participated in our Racial Wealth Gap simulation that takes people and organizations on a historical journey to wealth building in America, pausing on 13 federal policies that most powerfully accelerated or impeded progress based on race. It’s been one of the most powerful things we’ve done because it helps us all understand the racialized impacts of laws that have determined access to opportunity, resources, and power for generations and highlights what we can do to change them.

In partnership with Bread for the World, this Metro United Way developed this training in the fall of 2019 and have since shared it with many different audiences. Our staff has been trained to execute the simulation and offer a safe, confidential and engaging space to help elevate the conversation around policies that have been in place for decades that have affected generations of families in our community.


  • More than 75% of Louisville’s Black population lives on less than 5% of the land.

  • The rate of homeownership for Black households in Louisville is 36% compared to 71% for White households. Home ownership = biggest factor in creating wealth.

  • 30% of Louisville’s Black households make less than $25,000. Louisville is short more than 31,000 units needed to affordably house community members with low-incomes.

  • Though only comprising 30% of the under-17 population, 77% of the children detained at the Jefferson County Youth Detention Center are Black. Youth in the juvenile justice system are at a much higher risk for suicide attempts.

  • COVID-19 effect: 57.6% of Black renting Kentuckians have slight to no confidence that they will be able to pay next month’s rent, compared to 26.1% of all Kentucky renters.

  • Though only 8% of Kentucky’s population, Black adults make up 22% of the state’s prison population.

  • White Americans have 11x more wealth than Black Americans.

  • Black individuals represent 14.2% of the US population but only 2.2% of businesses owned.

    If Black-owned businesses were equivalent to their representative size of the U.S. population, there would be 806,218 more Black-owned businesses.

  • Black-owned businesses have higher loan denial rates than white-owned businesses.

  • Sources:

    • “Louisville Metro Health Equity Report 2017”—Louisville Metro Center for Health Equity
    • “22,000 EQUITIES, Addressing Racial Gaps in Homeownership and Wealth: 2019 State of Metropolitan Housing Report” –Metropolitan Housing Coalition
    • Equity & Justice for All—Metro United Way, metrounitedway.org/equity-and-justice

Schedule a Virtual Simulation

If you or your team would like more information or would like to schedule a virtual simulation with our professionally trained staff, please email Malissa.Love@metrounitedway.org.

The ideal audience for this simulation is 48 and there is a sliding scale fee. Please contact Malissa Love for more information or to schedule the simulation.

What Participants Had To Say

  • “Thank you Metro United Way for leading us through your race simulation. It was truly eye-opening.”
    – Fund for the Arts

  • “It was shocking to see so many policies/laws that have been created to have impacted in real ways the lives of those in our community based on skin color.”
    – Lauren

  • “I thought some of the things I had heard about policies affecting people of color were a myth but this simulation made me realize that the gaps didn’t happen overnight and it’s going to take a lot of work to make it right.”
    – Anne


Advocate for an equitable community, see our policy agenda, contact your legislators HERE.


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