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Report: Recession ravages minority assets

July 26, 2011 at 10:10 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 26 (UPI) -- The recession has taken a grave toll on the wealth of U.S. Hispanics and blacks and widened racial gaps, a report released Tuesday finds.

The Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends project said Latinos' median household wealth fell by two-thirds from 2005 to 2009, from $18,359 to $6,325.

Household wealth dropped by 53 percent among African-Americans and 16 percent among whites in the same period.

Collapsing home values drove the losses for all groups, and Hispanics have more of their assets in their homes and are concentrated in states, from California to Florida, with the worst housing meltdowns.

Pew also found that median household wealth of whites is 18 times Hispanics' and 20 times the figure for African-Americans -- double the racial gap from the 1980s up to the onset of the recession.

Furthermore, a third of Hispanic and black households had zero or negative net worth in 2009, compared with 15 percent for whites, with all groups losing ground since 2005. A quarter of blacks and Hispanics had no assets besides their cars.

The Pew Research Center based its report on data from the Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation.

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