“Wealth Gap” Among Whites, Minorities Widens?

The recession is being blamed for widening the wealth gap between whites and minorities to its largest level in 25 years on record, according to a study by the Pew Foundation that used Census Bureau data. And of all races, Hispanic families appear to have lost the most: Hispanic families were found to have the largest decline in wealth of any minority group during the recession.

From 2005 to 2009, the median wealth of Hispanic households dropped by 66 percent. Other minority groups also faced big drops: Asian household wealth fell 54 percent while African Americans saw their wealth drop by 53 percent during that time period. On the other hand, the median wealth of whites fell only by 16 percent in comparison. Household wealth is made up of assets, such as a home, car, savings and stocks — minus debts — such as mortgages and car loans.

The disparity is even more obvious when looking at median wealth in dollars: The median wealth of white households in 2009 was $113,149 compared to $6,325 for Hispanics and $5,677 for blacks, according to the study. Asians, which once held the top ranking over whites, dropped from $168,103 in 2005 to $78,066 in 2009 (partially due to a large percentage of Asians living in hard-hit housing market areas, such as California).

The study found that the median wealth of whites now stands at 20 times that of black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households–double the disparity of what it was in the decades before the recession, according to the study.

More at Sources: “Census Data Show Wealth of Whites is 20 Times That of Blacks, Widest U.S. Gap in Quarter-Century,” Associated Press (July 26, 2011) and “Recession Study Finds Hispanics Are Hit Hardest,” The New York Times (July 26, 2011) 

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