December 1, 1999

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

66 and 53

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. Looking at the wealth gap another way, the median wealth of white households was 20 times that of black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households after the recession and the housing market collapse. The figures are based on U.S. Census data from its Survey of Income and Program Participation, which is considered the most comprehensive source of data about household wealth in the United States by race and ethnicity. The 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. Read More