White Americans Now Have 20 Times the Wealth of Black Americans The Racial Wealth Gap Grew Significantly in the New Recession

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White Americans Now Have 20 Times the Wealth of Black Americans The Racial Wealth Gap Grew Significantly in the New Recession White Americans Now Have 20 Times the Wealth of Black Americans The Racial Wealth Gap Grew Significantly in the New Recession
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White Americans Now Have 20 Times the Wealth of Black Americans The Racial Wealth Gap Grew Significantly in the New Recession

by Cord Jefferson

July 29, 2011

We've known for a while now that the wealth disparities in this country are inextricably linked to racial disparities. Sadly, the new recession is only augmenting that problem. The median wealth of white households in America is now 20 times that of black households and 18 times the wealth of Latino households, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center. And in case you're thinking that means whites have $1 million while blacks only have $50,000, think again: The typical net worth of a white household is $113,000 while the typical net worth for a black household is a paltry $5,600, not even the cost of a new car.

This is the biggest wealth gulf between the three groups since the government started collecting the data 25 years ago. It's also two times the size the divide was for the 20 years that led up to the latest economic downturn. Why? Because when the housing market bubble burst, minorities, who had been preyed upon by unethical lenders, were disproportionately affected. From 2005 to 2009, inflation-adjusted median wealth for blacks and Latinos cratered 53 percent and 66 percent, respectively. Among whites, that drop was only 16 percent.

That this research comes out while Republicans and Democrats are at each other's throats over the national debt is poignant. While the GOP remains immovable on its stance against taxing the ultra-wealthy and closing corporate tax loopholes, millions of American families are struggling just to get by.

See also: "Rich Americans Are Far Richer Than Rich Foreigners," "Rich Americans Have No Idea How Rich They Are," and "The 400 Richest Americans Are Now Richer Than the Bottom 50 Percent Combined"

photo (cc) via Flickr user ElvertBarnes

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