Wealth Gap Grows Between Whites and Minorities

The recession and uneven recovery have erased decades of minority gains.

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money
The wealth gap continues to widen. (Thinkstock)

Fresh from our "Tell us something we don't know" file, Hope Yen of the Associated Press is reporting that wealth gaps between whites and minorities have grown to their widest levels in a quarter century. The recession and uneven recovery have erased decades of minority gains, leaving whites on average with 20 times the net worth of blacks and 18 times that of Hispanics, according to an analysis of new census data.

The analysis shows the racial and ethnic impact of the economic meltdown, which ravaged housing values and sent unemployment soaring. It offers the most direct government evidence yet of the disparity between predominantly younger minorities whose main asset is their home and older whites who are more likely to have 401(k) retirement accounts or other stock holdings.

While African-American and Hispanic homeowners lost jobs and their homes, white wealth increased because of rebounds in the stock market, where most of their wealth lies. No surprise there. When you disproportionately represent the unemployed and disenfranchised, then clearly whatever "assets" you've managed to obtain will be lost, particularly when there is no retirement and in many cases no one to go to for economic help.

This data, particularly measured against the backdrop of the debt-ceiling debacle, sadly reflects the intention of those in power to keep wealth in the hands of whites despite the changing demographics of this country. This is yet another example of the saying that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Read more at the Associated Press.

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