Report: The White-Black Wealth Gap Widens

News & Views | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 12/12/2014 | 03:45 PM EST

Pew Research Center reveals Black households have not recovered from Great Recession of 2007

Not that it comes as much of a surprise, but when it comes to wealth in America minorities lag far behind their white counterparts.

New data from the Pew Research Center shows that the wealth gap between whites and Blacks has increased during the economic recovery from 2007’s Great Recession.


According to the report, which analyzed data from the Survey of Consumer Finances from the Federal Reserve, the median net worth of white households in 2013 was $141,900, which is about 13 times that of Black households at $11,000. During the recession, the median net worth of white households was $192,500, 10 times that of Black households at $19,200.

Such figures are similar when comparing white and Hispanic households, which had a median net worth of $23,600. In 2013 it was $13,700.

One of the authors of the report described the economic gaps as “big” and “persistent,” according to the New York Times.

The Times reports:

The survey has been conducted every three years since 1983, with the largest wealth gap between blacks and whites recorded in 1989. That year, the median net worth of white households was 17 times larger than that of black households and 14 times that of Hispanic households.

Wealth is defined as the value of an accumulated sum of assets that could include income, financial products like stocks and bonds, retirement accounts or real estate subtracted from the debt that is owed against those assets. It is built up over time and tends to increase with age [sic]. This in part explains the widening racial gap, because blacks tend to earn less than whites and have less assets than whites do to pass on to future generations.

Homeownership, a factor in the creation of wealth, fell 6.5 percent for minority households from 2010 to 2013, while it fell only 2 percent for whites.

Hispanics are believed to have higher net worths than Blacks because they tend to live more in states with higher income such as New York, California and Florida, whereas Blacks may own homes in the south with lower home values.

While all American households have lower assets as a result of the recession, there’s no denying that a history of discrimination and unequal share of privilege and opportunity have shut out many minorities from acquiring American wealth.

(Photo: Stock Foundry/Design Pics/Design Pics/Corbis)

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