The U.S. economic downturn has severely exacerbated the wealth and income gap between the races.

According to a study by the Pew Research Center that analyzes the latest U.S. Census data, white families' net worth is 20 times greater than that of blacks and 18 times that of Hispanics. The study said the median wealth of white households in 2009 was $113,149, compared with $6,325 for Hispanics and $5,677 for blacks.

"What's pushing the wealth of whites is the rebound in the stock market and corporate savings, while younger Hispanics and African-Americans who bought homes in the last decade... are seeing big declines," Timothy Smeeding, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor, told the Associated Press.

In 1995, white wealth was only seven times that of the blacks and Hispanics.

Between 2005 and 2009, Hispanic households saw their median net worth plummet by 66 percent, while black households lost 53 percent. Net worth for whites slipped 16 percent over that time.

Hispanic's wealth has been especially hardhit as several states where they live in high numbers -- California, Nevada and Arizona – have suffered sharp drops in housing prices and high unemployment.

Moreover, Asians, who had been viewed as a “privileged” minority, saw their median household wealth drop by more than half in just four years -- from $168,103 in 2005 to $78,066 in 2009.

The Pew study suggests that the collapse of the real estate market in California, which has a large Asian population, hurt that group.