Census: U.S. Racial Wealth Gap Widest in Quarter Century

HeadlineJul 26, 2011

A new analysis of U.S. Census data shows the wealth gaps between whites and people of color have grown to their widest levels in a quarter-century. White Americans now have on average 20 times the net worth of African Americans and 18 times that of Latinos. The Pew Research Center has found the median wealth of white U.S. households in 2009 was about $113,000 compared with just over $6,300 for Hispanics and just under $5,700 for blacks. The white-black wealth gap is the widest since the census began tracking such data in 1984. Roderick Harrison, former chief of racial statistics at the Census Bureau, said, “I am afraid that this pushes us back to what the Kerner Commission characterized as 'two societies, separate and unequal.'” Latinos have been hit particularly hard by the recession. The median wealth of Latino households fell by 66 percent between 2005 and 2009. During that same period the median household wealth of whites dipped 16 percent.

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