Recession caused wealth gap to widen between races, part one
The ongoing economic recession has caused devastating financial harm to millions of people in Georgia and throughout the country. However, according to recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the recession has had a disproportionately negative effect on certain minority groups, many of whom have been hit hard by the collapse of the housing market, often leading to foreclosure, as well as a persistently high unemployment rate.
Specifically, the Census data focuses on Hispanics and blacks, both of whom are currently experiencing the widest wealth gap from whites in over 25 years. In 2009, the median wealth of white households in the United States was $113,149. In comparison, the median wealth of Hispanic and black households was $6,325 and $5,677, respectively. Clearly, there is a staggering difference in wealth between white and minority households, with ratios of 18 to 1 for Hispanics and 20 to 1 for blacks.
In addition, Asian households saw a significant decline in median household wealth, dropping from $168,013 in 2005 to $78,066 in 2009. This is largely because Asians tend to live in California and other states that have been the hardest hit by the housing market crisis.
According to the Census data, one main reason for the disparity in household wealth is the unemployment rate as it applies to specific industries. Because Hispanics tend to work in construction, they experienced significant job loss when that industry slowed following the housing market crash. In sum, blacks currently have the highest unemployment rate of any minority group in the country, at 16.2 percent.
We will continue our discussion of this topic in a blog post later this week.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Wealth gap widens between whites, minorities,” Hope Yen, 26 July 2011