September 12, 2011

Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs Between Whites, Blacks and Hispanics

20-to-1

The lopsided wealth ratios between whites, blacks and Hispanics are the largest since the government began publishing household wealth data a quarter century ago.

The median wealth of white households is 20 times that of black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly available government data from 2009. These lopsided wealth ratios are the largest since the government began publishing such data a quarter century ago and roughly twice the size of the ratios that had prevailed between these three groups for the two decades prior to the Great Recession that ended in 2009. In percentage terms, the bursting of the housing market bubble in 2006 and the recession that followed from late 2007 to mid-2009 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. As a result of these declines, in 2009 the typical black household had just $5,677 in wealth (assets minus debts), the typical Hispanic household had $6,325 and the typical white household had $113,149. Read More