What are the forces moving the Minnesota economy? Adam Belz tries to identify the trends and show the connections between Minnesota and the larger U.S. and global economies. You can connect with him on Twitter: @adambelz

Recession has widened racial wealth gap, report says

Posted by: Adam Belz under Business trends, Economics Updated: April 30, 2013 - 11:57 AM

The recession widened the gap in wealth between whites and minorities, a new report from the Urban Institute says.

Hispanic families lost home equity in the housing crash and black families lost retirement assets, likely because of job loss, the think tank said. 

Between 2007 and 2010, Hispanic families saw their wealth fall 40 percent, the report said, and blacks saw their wealth fall 31 percent. Whites, by comparison, lost 11 percent of their wealth.

The researchers defined wealth as a family's assets minus its liabilities, as calculated by manipulating the Fed's Survey of Consumer Finances over time. (Here's the one from 2010.) It's a lot of data.

This hits home in Minneapolis, where black unemployment was estimated at 27 percent in 2011 by the Economic Policy Institute. Also, home prices in three of the city's poorest sections -- Camden, Near North, and Phillips -- remain more than 60 percent below their pre-recession highs, according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors. Homes in north Minneapolis routinely are worth a third or a fourth of what people paid for them in 2005.

The 6-page Urban Institute report said the trend toward a widened racial wealth gap is long-term. The average wealth of whites nationally was roughly five times that of blacks and Hispanics in 1983. By 2010, the average white had six times the wealth of the average black or Hispanic person. 

"While the Great Recession didn't cause the wealth disparities between whites and minorities, it did exacerbate them," the authors wrote.

The NYT had a piece on the report yesterday, which is how I came across it.

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