NEW YORK (
) --The crash in real estate values has widened the wealth gap between whites and the two largest minority groups in the U.S. - Hispanics and blacks - to record levels, according to an analysis of the latest government data by the Pew Research Center.
Median wealth fell by 66% among Hispanic households and by 53% among black households during the financial crisis, compared with a fall of just 16% among white households, according to the report issued Tuesday.
The median net worth of white households is now 20 times greater than that of black households and 18 times greater than that of Hispanic households.
By 2009, the median level of home equity held by Hispanic homeowners was half what it was in 2005, plummeting from $99,983 to $49,145. Homeownership rates among Hispanics also fell, from 51% to 47%.
"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 explains.
Homeownership rates among whites and blacks were little changed in 2009 compared with 2005, however. White home ownership was stable at 74% while the rate among blacks fell by one percentage point to 46%.
Household wealth reflects the balance of the accumulated sum of a household's assets minus the sum of its debt. The wealth gap is likely even more pronounced today than the data reflects given that a much higher proportion of whites than blacks or Hispanics own stocks, as the stock market has rebounded while house values have hovered around historic lows since 2009.