Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist
3 November 2004
Filed under:Current Affairs (US) at11:44 am

Here is something that I learned about recently which is an example of the kind of information I would have thought would be important to discuss during the election debates – at least the information did get published (in the Washington Post). A recent report by the “Pew Hispanic Center”:http://www.pewhispanic.org/ revealed that:

As of 2002… the median Hispanic household had a net worth of $7,932 and the median black family had $5,998… The median white family, by contrast, had more than 10 times either amount — $88,651. Nearly a third of blacks and over a quarter of Hispanic households had zero or negative net worth in 2002, compared with 13 percent of whites.

I hadn’t realized that the cumulative effect of years of inequality was that severe. And of course it is getting worse:

In 2002, white families’ median net worth was up $13,169 from 1996. Hispanic households’ median worth stood at $7,932, $1,000 more than before the boom, but down from 1999. Black families had about $1,000 less than in 1996.

Needless to say four more years of Bush is not likely to help here. The full report is “here”:http://www.pewhispanic.org/site/docs/pdf/The%20Wealth%20of%20Hispanic%20Households.pdf but it is also worth reading the “Washington Post’s account”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A40455-2004Oct17?language=printer for the human story behind the news.

Perhaps because I’m a European I would’ve been more interested to know the wealth differences between, say, the the median wealth of the middle class and the wealth of the lowest fifth of whatever race. The figures are around somewhere and I imagine they are broadly similar.

I suppose I should have posted this sooner to try to influence the results but I guess that anybody who actually cares about this one way or the other would have voted for Kerry anyway.

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