The Pew Research Center just released an analysis of 2009 government data on the wealth gap between White non-Hispanics, African Americans, and Hispanics, and it’s pretty depressing. It’s not just that the gap is so large, but also that Hispanic and African American households have such low median worth in absolute terms (p. 13 in the report):
A quarter of Hispanics and Blacks have no assets other than a vehicle, compared to 6% of Whites. And 35% of Black and 31% of Hispanic households had negative median net worth in 2009, with their debts outweighing all of their assets; this was true of only 15% of White non-Hispanics.This is partially because African Americans and especially Hispanics were disproportionately hit by the effects of the housing crisis, the single largest source of reduced wealth. Overall, those two groups have suffered a much more dramatic loss in assets than Whites (sorry, Asians weren’t included in all the images, and Native Americans aren’t included in any):
The result is a wealth gap that is the largest it has ever been since the government began making such data available in the early ’80s. White non-Hispanics have nearly 20 times higher median wealth than Blacks, and 15 times as much as Hispanics:
For more details, check out the full report. The implications of these disparities, and the low levels of financial assets available to African Americans and Hispanics compared to Whites, is truly stunning.