The recession has blown open discrepancies in wealth between white Americans and minorities, with Hispanics seeing the most precipitous decline in average househould wealth, according to a Pew survey.
Adjusting for inflation, the Pew Research Center found that median wealth plummeted by 66 percent in Hispanic households and 53 percent in black households between 2005 to 2009, compared with just 16% among white households. The gap between wealth for minorities and for whites is the largest since the government began keeping relevant data.
The collapse of the housing market was most responsible for evaporating wealth, with the median level of home equity held by Hispanic homeowners shrinking by from $99,983 to $49,145.
Overall, wealth ratios stood at 20 to one between white and black Americans and 18 to one between whites and Hispanics. About a quarter of all Hispanic and black households in 2009 had no assets other than a vehicle, compared with just 6% of white households.
"It's a very stark reminder of the high share of minorities who live at the economic margins of this country," Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the and an author of the report, told the New York Times. "These data really show their economic vulnerability."