Black-White Wealth Chasm Grows

Black-White Wealth Chasm Grows

Wealth of white households is 20 times that of Black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households.

Published July 26, 2011

The Pew Research Center reports that the median wealth of white households is 20 times that of Black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households, according to analysis of newly available government data from 2009.


These unbalanced wealth ratios are the largest since the government began publishing such data 25 years ago.


The anaylsis finds that the bursting of the housing market bubble in 2006 and the 2007-2009 recession took a far greater toll on the wealth of minorities than whites. From 2005 to 2009, inflation-adjusted median wealth fell by 66% among Hispanic households and 53% among Black households, compared with just 16% among white households, writes Pew.


As a result of the economic conditions:


The typical black household had just $5,677 in wealth (assets minus debts) in 2009, the typical Hispanic household had $6,325 in wealth and the typical white household had $113,149.

Moreover, about a third of black (35%) and Hispanic (31%) households had zero or negative net worth in 2009, compared with 15% of white households. In 2005, the comparable shares had been 29% for Blacks, 23% for Hispanics and 11% for whites.


"What's pushing the wealth of whites is the rebound in the stock market and corporate savings, while younger Hispanics and African-Americans who bought homes in the last decade—because that was the American dream—are seeing big declines," Timothy Smeeding, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor who specializes in income inequality, told the Associated Press.


Read the full report here.


(Photo: Pew Research Center)

Written by Deborah Creighton Skinner


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