Hispanics: The Most Affected by the Recession

A new report released by the Pew Research Center shows that Hispanic families accounted for the largest single decline in wealth of any ethnic and racial group in the country during the recession. In Florida median home prices dropped 38% between the end of 2005 and the end of 2009, which means that, along with Arizona, California, Michigan, and Nevada, the median drop in household wealth for Florida Hispanics was around 88%. According to data, the median wealth of white households is 20 times that of black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households. The Pew report adds that “a disproportionate share of Hispanics live in California, Florida, Nevada, and Arizona, which were in the vanguard of the housing real estate market bubble of the 1990s and early 2000s but that have since been among the states experiencing the steepest declines in housing values.” The report found that two out of every five Hispanics or Asians live in states where the home prices saw the lowest decline, while only one out of every five whites or blacks live in those same states.

The report also shows that “the bursting of the housing market bubble in 2006 and the recession that followed from late 2007 to mid-2009 took a far greater toll on the wealth of minorities than whites.” Household wealth among Hispanics fell 66%, from more than $18,000 in 2005 to a little more than $6,000 in 2009, while black households saw a 53% decrease and white households a 16% fall in household wealth. The report indicates “plummeting house values were the principal cause of the recent erosion in household wealth among all groups, with Hispanics hit hardest by the meltdown in the housing market.” The median level of home equity held by Hispanic homeowners declined by half, from about $100,000 to about $50,000, while the homeownership rate among Hispanics was also falling, from 51% to 47% from 2005 to 2009. It is worth mentioning that as of the 2010 Census, there are 50.5 million Hispanics living the United States, making up 16% of the total population. Thus, the fact that the household wealth for Hispanics has decline so steeply is a reason to be concerned for they are an instrumental part of the engine that powers our entire country-hopefully, as the economy gets better they will too.

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