Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Black/White Wealth Gap Reaches A Record High! Where Is Obama?!?

While I love adding my witty commentary to posts here, sometimes it's best to just roll out the ball and have you guys play amongst yourselves. Add the obligatory [pause] here if that last sentence didn't sound quite right.

Worsened by the housing bubble bursting and financial meltdown, the wealth gap between white and black families now is the largest since the government began tracking the data, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center.

White households on average now earn 20 times more than the typical black family and 18 times more than the average Hispanic family, the study found. The disparities are three times the gap that existed three years ago.

When Pew first began tracking wealth disparity by race in 1984, white families earned 12 times as much as black families.

“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 — because that was the American dream — are seeing big declines,” Timothy Smeeding, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor who specializes in income inequality, told The Associated Press.

According to the Pew research, inflation-adjusted median wealth fell by 66 percent among Hispanic households and 53 percent among black households from 2005 through 2009. During the same time period, the study found wealth of white households fell16 percent.

The typical black household had $5,677 in wealth — defined as assets minus debts — in 2009, the typical Hispanic household had $6,325 in wealth, and the typical white household had $113,149, Pew found.
Just as a matter of context, the government has only been studying this gap with actual data since 1984, so it's not like we're talking a historical, all time worst evar (!) gap here, just the worst in the 25 or so years such a thing has been measured. I notice this rate didn't only began being compiled after Reagan's first term. We might need to get Rebb'n Al to look into that one.

I'm not so sure if there's much to read into here. A sinking tide drowns all boats [1] so with black folks already catching a beatdown during good economic times, it's no shocker we're on the ass end of the pyramid right now. Still, I'm sure someone's gonna make some correlation between the first Black President and the worst gap evar! Have at it below.

Question: Is this study much ado about nothing, or is it simply indicative of the unrealized dreams of the Obama presidency?

[1] Or however the inverse of that corny analogy goes...

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