At Democracy in America, a look at Pew's new numbers on the drop in median wealth between 2005 and 2009. Hispanic households saw the largest decline, 66%. As dramatic as that drop is I was more startled by the disparity in median wealth between ethnic groups--the median white household has nearly 20 times more wealth than the median black or Hispanic one. There are a lot of possible factors in that--geographic distribution, systemic/historical inequity, educational attainment, family structures, etc--but one that strikes me (also from the Pew results) is that white households were significantly more likely to own their home than African-American or Hispanic families (about 75% for the former, compared to roughly 50% for the latter). The housing fall was a major culprit in the wealth loss between 2005 and 2009 but with a longer time horizon (or for people who bought before the bubble) homeowning is probably still a plausible path to wealth accumulation--possibly because of the enforced savings mechanism?

08/09/2011 02:48

When land is tied to income generation or rents, it often is a good investment. In the Malthusian era prior to the industrial revolution land and food tended to be inflationary, while manufactured were not.

However, creating a huge surge in demand for a product (through less stringent lending requirements, and government programs) over a relatively short period of time simply encouraged to by into a bubble. Since minorities were relatively late to the housing game, they have been hammered.


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