Race-Based Wealth Gaps Reach Record Highs

Many try to argue that the most pressing issue dividing America is class, not race, and that we should focus on wealth disparities rather than discrimination due to skin tone. While the issue is much more complex than one or the other, here is a solid retort to that argument: the latest Pew report on race and wealth shows that income disparities between whites, blacks and Latinos has reached record highs—the largest in 25 years, in fact, since the government began collecting such data. 

The report states the median wealth of white households is 20 times greater than that of blacks, and 19 times greater than that of Latinos, as of 2009. Part of the reason for the wealth disparity weighs on the foreclosure crisis, and the disproportionate amount of non-whites targeted for bunk loans and empty mortgages. Pew:

...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, the typical black household had just $5,677 in wealth (assets minus debts) in 2009, the typical Hispanic household had $6,325 in wealth and the typical white household had $113,149.

Stunning, isn't it? Not only that, the poll doesn't take into consideration the overall proportion of blacks and Latinos versus whites in the country's population, which could further underscore the disparity. But it's a pretty comprehensive report, and very much worth reading, right here

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at July 26, 2011, 4:03am

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