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Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - 12:47pm

White, Minority Wealth Gap Widens

Updated: 3 years ago.
A Pew Research Center survey has found whites and Asians are much likelier to own stocks and mutual funds shares. By contrast, nearly a quarter of Black and Hispanic households had a single major asset: their cars. (Photo credit: Elliott Erwitt)

A Pew Research Center study shows the wealth gap between whites and minority residents in the U.S. widened sharply during the Recession. The finding is especially notable in Georgia, where the minority population is large and growing.

Median wealth among blacks fell 53 percent between 2005 and 2009. The survey found the wealth of white households, however, was down only 16 percent.

In the U.S., blacks make up 12 percent of the population. By comparison, nearly a third of Georgia’s population is black.

The statistics for Hispanic households are even bleaker. Their median wealth fell 66 percent in the same period.

“The gap in wealth between white and black households, and white and Hispanic households is currently the highest on record, and twice as great as the gap that existed before the Great Recession,” said Rakesh Kochhar with the Pew Research Center.

The survey found whites and Asians are much likelier to own stocks and mutual fund shares.

Kochhar says the survey speaks to financial insecurity.

“It tells us that many of us, and particularly so many among minority households, are living on the economic margins, that they are very vulnerable to economic shocks, such as those from the Great Recession,” he said.

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