It would be nice to think that the election of Barack Obama swept the U.S. into a new, miraculous post-racial era. But at the moment of his historic victory, the Great Recession was busy proving that that definitely wasn’t the case.
By 2010, the weak economy had disproportionately devastated the finances of black and Hispanic households — so much so that the median household net worth for whites was 22 times as high as it was for blacks.
That’s according to newly released Census data cited at CNNMoney, where it’s also noted that by 2010 the median household net worth for whites was 15 times higher than that of Hispanics.
There’s been a trickle of figures from the 2010 Census in recent days, much of it confirming what we more or less already knew: the recession was bad for people’s bank accounts; more cash-strapped families are doubling up in the same house.
Similarly, the news about the growing racial wealth gap isn’t exactly news. Whites and minorities weren’t exactly on even footing even before the recession. In 2005, median household wealth for whites was 12 times that of blacks and eight times that of Hispanics, according to CNNMoney. But the downturn has certainly made the disparity a lot more pronounced.
In part, that’s because the housing crisis hit minority homeowners hardest of all, with blacks and Latinos almost twice as likely to have been affected by foreclosure as whites.
Blacks and Hispanics have also been experiencing the jobs crisis differently. Unemployment rose for both groups during the recession more rapidly than it did for whites. And after the worst of the recession was over, and the national unemployment rate began to fall, the black unemployment rate continued to climb.