Household wealth fell far more sharply among minorities than in white households, according to data analyzed by the Pew Research Center, with Hispanics taking the brunt of the losses.
In the analysis released Tuesday of newly available government data from 2009, Pew Research found that from 2005 to 2009, inflation-adjusted median wealth among Hispanic households fell by 66%, Asian households by 54%, and black households by 53%. In white households, wealth fell by only 16%.
These are the largest gaps since the government began publishing its data 25 years ago, and also approximately double the size of the ratios that were present among the three groups for the 20 years prior to the end of the Great Recession in 2009.
Thanks to the decline, while white households had a typical wealth level (assets minus debts) of $113,149, black households had $5,677 and Hispanic households $6,325. Also in 2009, approximately a third of Hispanic households (31%) and black households (35%) had zero or negative net worth, compared with white households at 15%. In 2005, before anything collapsed, black households were at 29%; Hispanic households were at 23%; and white households were at 11%.
According to a New York Times report, the data also reveal that approximately a quarter of all black and Hispanic households owned nothing but a car in 2009. Only 6% of whites and 8% of Asians found themselves in similar circumstances.
The data analyzed by Pew Research came from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), which is distributed by the Census Bureau to thousands of homes periodically. It presents comprehensive data, by race and ethnicity, about wealth in the U.S. The two most recent surveys were in 2005 and 2009, and the 2009 data has only recently been released to researchers.