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Issues Beyond Palo Alto, posted by Ted Rudow III, MA, a member of the Palo Alto High School community,
Recession compounded wealth gaps
A new study of U.S. census data reveals that wealth gaps between whites and minorities have grown to their widest levels since the government began tracking them a quarter of a century ago. White Americans now have on average 20 times the net worth of African Americans and 18 times that of Latinos. According to the Pew Research Center, the gaps were compounded during the housing bust and subsequent recession, and essentially wiped out much of the economic progress made by people of color over the past 20 years.
In 2009 white households had a median net worth of just over $113,000; in stark contrast Latinos had $6,300 and African Americans not quite $5,700. The Obama presidency was supposed to bring in a post-racial America, where there was a greater sense of equality among the races, and yet we're seeing this enormous step backward.
The socioeconomic realities have not changed on the ground. And this report is pointing to just how much the socioeconomic inequalities have been exacerbated by the recession and the poor economy. It has hit, as it historically does, lower-income minorities and less educated populations much more heavily than others. And this report has shown very graphically the consequences of this.