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Hispanics lost 66% of household wealth to housing bubble

The wealth gap between whites and minorities in the U.S. is the widest it's been in a quarter-century, with white households having 20 times the net worth of Hispanic and black households.

The wealth disparity — partly due to the fact that many whites derive their wealth from stocks and corporate savings, while minority families are mostly invested in their homes — was worsened by the housing bubble bursting and financial meltdown.

According to an analysis of Census data by the Pew Research Center, cited by the AP, the median wealth — defined as assets minus debts — of white U.S. households in 2009 was $113,149, compared with $6,325 for Hispanics and $5,677 for blacks.

Hispanics were reportedly hardest hit by the recession — between 2005 and 2009, their median wealth fell more than 66 percent to just over $6,000, the research reportedly shows. 

"What's pushing the wealth of whites is the rebound in the stock market and corporate savings, while younger Hispanics and African-Americans who bought homes in the last decade — because that was the American dream — are seeing big declines," Timothy Smeeding, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor who specializes in income inequality, told The Associated Press.

The white-black wealth gap is also the widest since the census began tracking such data in 1984, when the ratio was roughly 12 to 1.

"I am afraid that this pushes us back to what the Kerner Commission characterized as 'two societies, separate and unequal,'" said Roderick Harrison, a former chief of racial statistics at the Census Bureau, referring to the 1960s presidential commission that examined U.S. race relations. "The great difference is that the second society has now become both black and Hispanic."

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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