the last half-decade has proved far worse for black and Hispanic families than for white families
when it comes to wealth — as measured by assets, like cash savings, homes and retirement accounts, minus debts, like mortgages and credit card balances — white families have far outpaced black and Hispanic ones. Before the recession, non-Hispanic white families, on average, were about four times as wealthy as nonwhite families, according to the Urban Institute’s analysis of Federal Reserve data. By 2010, whites were about six times as wealthy.
The dollar value of that gap has grown, as well. By the most recent data, the average white family had about $632,000 in wealth, versus $98,000 for black families and $110,000 for Hispanic families.
Many experts consider the wealth gap to be more pernicious than the income gap, as it perpetuates from generation to generation and has a powerful effect on economic security and mobility.
Higher unemployment rates and lower incomes among blacks left them less able to keep paying their mortgages and more likely to lose their homes, experts said.
Black families also suffered bigger hits to their retirement savings, the Urban Institute found. With lower earnings and higher unemployment rates leaving them with a thinner safety net to begin with, black families were more likely to take funds out of the market when it was depressed, leaving them out in the cold as the market recovered.
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