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ALL Latinos suffer the stigma of low household wealth

LatinaLista — Even before today’s release by Pew Social & Demographic Trends announcing the freefall in Latino household wealth, it was known that the recession hit Latinos especially hard. Yet, the real story is that it didn’t hit ALL Latinos the same.

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While the just published statistics are dramatic in showing that median household wealth among the majority of Latinos fell from $18,359 in 2005 to $6,325 in 2009, a 66 percent drop, the same report found that wealth gaps didn’t just happen between Latinos and whites — it happened among Latinos too.

According to the report:

During the period under study, wealth disparities increased not only between racial and ethnic groups, they also rose within each group. Even though the wealthiest 10% of households within each group suffered a loss in wealth from 2005 to 2009, their share of their group’s overall wealth rose during this period. The increase was the greatest among Hispanics, with the top 10% boosting their share of all Hispanic household wealth from 56% in 2005 to 72% in 2009. Among whites, the share of wealth owned by the top 10% rose from 46% in 2005 to 51% in 2009. These trends indicate that those in the top 10% of the wealth ladder were relatively less impacted by the economic downturn than those in the remaining 90%.

Though the top ten percent of Latinos who are wealthy enough to weather the economic storm may have been less impacted as the report suggests, there is a failure to recognize that usually when bad reports surface touting the lack of fiscal responsibility and home ownership shortcomings in the greater Latino community, it’s usually all Latinos who suffer from the news.

Story after story illustrating how Latinos are treated unequally by banks, mortgage companies and credit card businesses just because of ethnicity appear in the news often.

It seems even wealth can’t prevent such discrimination.

The Pew report says that though the threshold for entry into the top 10 percent of the most wealthy fell overall in 2009 compared to 2005, it had the most dramatic fall only among Latinos.

The drop among Hispanics was more dramatic, from $395,667 to $236,161, or 40%. The threshold fell 19% among blacks and 10% among Asians, but only 2% among whites.

Perhaps the real story should be focused on why once Latinos have made it they’re still behind?

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