Friday, August 05, 2011

Wealth gaps between whites and blacks at record high

The median wealth of white households is 20 times that of black households – the largest since the government began publishing such data a quarter century ago.

So reports the Pew Research Center in its analysis of newly available U.S. Census Bureau data from 2009. Among other significant points made in the Center’s report:

-- Plummeting house values were the main reason for the inflation-adjusted decline in wealth (assets minus debt) of both whites and blacks. Among white households, the decline was from $134,992 in 2005 to $113,149 in 2009. Among black households, it was from $12,124 in 2005 to $5,677 in 2009.

-- Wealth disparities between whites and blacks have always been much greater than gaps in income, which covers the annual inflow of wages, interest, and other sources of income.

-- In 2009, about a quarter of all black households had no assets other than a vehicle, compared with just 6% of white households.

The Pew Center report can be found at

For detailed timely information on income and wealth disparities in the U.S., see the Economic Policy Institute’s State of Working America at

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