Wealth gap widens between white and minority households
White households held a median wealth of $113,149 in 2009, roughly 20 times that of blacks and 18 times the amount held by Hispanics, according to Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data. Pew defined household wealth as the amount of assets minus the sum of debt owed. Researchers said the housing bubble bust in 2006 and the recession that followed had a harsher impact on minorities than whites. From 2005 to 2009, median wealth dropped 66% among Hispanics and 53% among blacks, compared to 16% from whites, according to the data. It is the largest wealth gap between minorities and whites since the government began tracking the data more than a quarter-century ago. "Plummeting house values were the principal cause of the recent erosion in household wealth among all groups, with Hispanics hit hardest by the meltdown in the housing market," Pew said. Median home equity held by Hispanics dropped to $49,145 in 2009 from nearly $100,000 four years prior. This, according to Pew, is caused by the share of Hispanics making up populations in California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona – the states hardest hit by the downturn. Comparably, home equity for blacks fell to $59,000 in 2009 from $76,910 four years before. For whites, home equity fell to $95,000 from $115,364 over the same period. Pew said the declines could have been steeper since wealth was still peaking in 2006 and 2007. Also, the economic recovery since the downturn remains disparate among sectors. The stock market recaptured much of its losses, meaning whites – which own more stocks than blacks or Hispanics – saw a quicker return of household wealth. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.