The Pew Hispanic Center always produces stellar data analyses, and they recently published another: Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs Between Whites, Blacks, Hispanics. They used data collected from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) in 2009, an economic questionnaire distributed periodically to tens of thousands of households in the U.S. Census Bureau.
The major finding of the study is shocking: the median wealth of white households is 20 times that of black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households. These numbers are a result of the burst of the housing bubble in 2006, and the recession that followed from late 2007 to mid-2009, which impacted minorities considerably harder than whites. Plus, while 15 percent of white households had zero or negative net worth, 31 percent of Hispanic households had zero or negative net worth. The data from the report show that racial disparities are growing, and that Hispanics and African-Americans are falling behind their white peers. Policymakers should see this report as a wake up call, so that these communities, which are becoming an increasingly large share of the population, don’t sink further into poverty.