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Wealth in America: Whites-Minorities Gap Is Now a Chasm


Wealth gap is biggest ever recorded (NBC Nightly News, July 26, 2011) — A new study shows the median wealth of white households is 20 times greater than that of black households and 18 times greater than that of Hispanic households. This wealth gap is the largest in 25 years since the government first published such data. NBC’s Brian Williams reports. (00:34)

By Mike Brunker

Projects Team editor

July 26, 2011

WASHINGTON— As Congress and the White House wrestle whether to raise taxes for the wealthiest Americans, a new analysis of Census data shows that the wealth gaps between whites and blacks and Hispanics widened dramatically during the recession.

The analysis by the Pew Research Center, released on Tuesday, found that from 2005 to 2009, inflation-adjusted median wealth fell 66 percent among Hispanic households and 53 percent among black households, compared with a 16 percent decline among white households.

Those declines increased the wealth gap between white and minority households to the largest since the census began collecting such data in 1984. The ratio of wealth for whites to blacks, for instance, is now roughly 20 to 1, compared to 12 to 1 in the first survey 25 years ago and 7 to 1 in 1995, when a booming economy lifted many low-income Americans into the middle class.

The wealth ratio for whites to Hispanics was 18 to 1 in 2009, also up from 7 to 1 in 1995, the Pew analysis found.

The declines from the recession left the median black household with $5,677 in wealth (assets minus debts, where assets include items like a car, a home, savings, retirement funds, etc.) and the typical Hispanic household with $6,325. White households, by comparison, had $113,149, the study found.

Sliced another way, the data from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), showed that 35 percent of black households and 31 percent of Hispanic households had zero or negative net worth in 2009. The comparable rate for white households was 15 percent. …

In Washington, the wealth gap has been a major point of friction in talks about raising the debt ceiling and putting the nation on sounder fiscal footing. …

Full story



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2 Responses to “America’s Decline: Wealth Gap Resembles Third World”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Sliding into Recession . . . Again? Says:

    […] America’s Decline: Wealth Gap Resembles Third World (July 27, 2011) […]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Widening Gap Between U.S. Rich and Poor Says:

    […] America’s Decline: Wealth Gap Resembles Third World (July 27, 2011) […]

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