Racial and Ethnic Wealth Gaps Highest In 30 Years

A recent Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances shows that the Great Recession has widened wealth inequality along racial and ethnic lines.  The wealth gap between Whites and Blacks is now at its highest since 1989, and the gap between Whites and Hispanics is at its highest since 2001.

"The wealth of white households was 13 times the median wealth of black households in 2013, compared with eight times the wealth in 2010 [...]. Likewise, the wealth of white households is now more than 10 times the wealth of Hispanic households, compared with nine times the wealth in 2010."

The Great Recession has affected all households, but not all have benefited from the recovery: "From 2010 to 2013, the median wealth of non-Hispanic white households increased [...] by 2.4%.  Meanwhile, the median wealth of non-Hispanic black households fell 33.7%, [...]. Among Hispanics, median wealth decreased by 14.3%."

Factors that may explain the widening of the wealth gaps include:

  • Differences in the extent to which White and minority median incomes were hit by the Recession.
  • White households are more likely to own financial assets, such as stocks, which have recovered in value more quickly than housing.
  • The decrease in asset ownership has tended to be proportionally greater among minority households.

Read more:

TeachingwithData.org resources:
Wealth Inequality in America (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/3922)
Attitudes about Racial Discrimination and Racial Inequality in the US: A Data-Driven Learning Guide (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/3431)
Social Class and Attitudes about Inequality: A Data-Driven Learning Guide (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/3459)
Recession Trends (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/3067
Income Inequality in the US (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/3182
Race and Ethnic Inequality (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/3101
Frederique Laubepin

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